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Cape May County eyes ways to combat heroin

Overdose antidote Narcan may be coming to county

CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE— Since the start of 2013, over 100 people have died in Ocean County from a heroin overdose. In the new year, police in that county’s 33 towns will carry an antidote, called Narcan, to help revive overdose victims.

In Cape May County, Prosecutor Robert Taylor says bringing the antidote to this area is being discussed with local police chiefs.

“There’s a lot of evidence that it’s a very positive kind of thing,” Taylor said Thursday.

Since January, 25 people have died of a drug overdose in Cape May County, and police have responded to 102 calls for a reported overdose.

On Dec. 11, Taylor will meet with the chiefs of police from Cape May County municipalities and discuss options regarding the antidote.

Narcan is a trademarked version of the drug Naloxone, and the antidote is also known as Nalone and Narcanti. It was developed in the 1960s and is used to counter opiate overdoses. Police in other states, such as Massachusetts, have been using the antidote for the past few years and have deemed the program a success in published reports.

Taylor said Narcan works like a nasal spray, and is about $25 per pack. He was not sure how much training officers in the county would need before it could be used.

Besides the discussion of the antidote, Taylor said there are other initiatives in the county to combat what officials have described as a heroin epidemic.

On Dec. 12, Taylor said his office plans to begin making presentations in high schools regarding the dangers of prescription drugs and how taking pills can lead to addiction. Several officials in the county point to the abuse of prescription drugs as a common first step to other drugs.

“That seems to be the trend, that the prescription pills are like the gateway to heroin,” he said.

A similar program kicked off earlier this year, but it was presented in area middle schools, Taylor said.

“Drug dealers are approaching younger and younger people,” he said.

Besides reaching out to students, there are also presentations planned to educate school officials about the dangers as well. Taylor said that in January, his office, as well as Cape Assist, area school officials, and the county superintendent of schools, will offer a presentation on the heroin abuse.

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