As fentanyl overdose deaths continue to rise in New Jersey, we are learning that some OD victims may not respond to a single course of naloxone, a drug sold under the brand name Narcan that is used to reverse the effects of opioids and bringing users back to the brink of death.
“Due to the potency of fentanyl, in some cases a second dose of naloxone is required to revive an individual,” said Angelo Valente, executive director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey.
He noted that some OD victims may respond to a single dose of naloxone but that due to the strength of fentanyl, a second dose is sometimes needed.
He said medical examiners across the Garden State are now finding fentanyl in the bodies of 90% of drug overdose victims, which should be a reminder that a single dose of naloxone may be insufficient.
Update on the fentanyl crisis
The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey is presenting a webinar focused on fentanyl on Tuesday, June 28 at 11 a.m. and anyone can join for free by registering here.
A wide range of attendees will include healthcare professionals, government officials and family members who have lost loved ones to overdose.
He said that because fentanyl is mixed in with so many illegal substances these days, having a supply of naloxone “for family members who have addicts who use illicit drugs is really a very important part of hope to save their lives”.
It’s like Russian roulette
He noted that the fentanyl problem continues to escalate and has now reached a tipping point, which means “there is no safe way to experiment with drugs, it’s a message that can prevent tragedy”.
“Anyone who has a family member or friends who uses opioids or heroin should have access to naloxone because naloxone is definitely a lifesaver,” Valente said.
He acknowledged that some pharmacies in low-income areas of New Jersey typically don’t carry naloxone because it can cost $100 to $150. The state has made great efforts to provide the drug for free on several occasions.
David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]
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