Police say use of Narcan is helping to save lives

Staff Writer

Jackson police are praising a drug overdose antidote that they say has helped save the lives of several individuals in slightly more than one month.

“So far, every time our officers have used Narcan, it has been successful,” Jackson Police Lt. Steven Laskiewicz said this week.

About a month ago, police officers used Narcan to save the life of a 38-year-old man. In a recent span of 10 days, officers revived three more people with the drug, which is delivered as a nasal spray.

On July 20 at 2:22 a.m., officers Ed Travisano and Chris Schneider arrived at the Dove Mills Apartments on Bennetts Mills Road after receiving a report of a potential heroin overdose. The officers found a 25-year-old man from Toms River unconscious in a bathroom.

A substance believed to be heroin and drug paraphernalia were found near the man.

Police said the officers performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the man before administering Narcan. After the man received the Narcan, he responded and was transported to a hospital. On July 29, Jackson officers Lou Notare and Craig Lindenberg and Sgt. Wayne Olejarz arrived at a Liverpool Court home at 8 p.m. after receiving a report that a 32- year-old man might have suffered a drug overdose.

According to Laskiewicz, the officers found the man lying on a bedroom floor and having difficulty breathing.

The officers administered Narcan, but the man was still unresponsive. Soon afterward, responders from the Jackson First Aid Squad provided a second dose of Narcan, and the man responded. He was taken to a hospital for treatment.

On July 30 at 10 a.m., officers Bill Campbell, Kevin Chesney and Steve Scaglione responded to a report of a possible drug overdose at a shopping center on South New Prospect Road.

According to Laskiewicz, a caller told police he saw a young man slumped over the steering wheel of a parked car.

Police said the man, who was later identified as being 20 years old, did not respond to attempts to wake him. The officers performed first aid and administered Narcan. Police said the man regained consciousness shortly after being given the drug and he was transported to a hospital.

Some Ocean County police departments have had access to Narcan since April as part of a pilot program to combat drug overdoses.

Officers in Jackson received Narcan in June and were trained on its use by the department’s drug recognition experts.

“The officers in our department have been trained and equipped to respond to this type of call and to attempt to prevent the loss of life,” Laskiewicz said.

Heroin overdose deaths have been an ongoing problem throughout the state. According to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, heroin-related deaths in the county jumped from 53 in 2012 to 112 in 2013.