WOODBURY — Since Gloucester County police officers started being able to administer doses of Narcan to people having an opiate overdose in September of last year, 41 lives have been saved.
In a little more than six months, the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office has been able to plan and oversee the training and certifications of police officers throughout the county, according to Prosector Sean Dalton.
Now the GCPO has partnered with Kennedy Health and Inspira Medical to make sure what was a pilot program can continue.
For the pilot program, the GCPO bought $6,000 worth of doses of the Narcan nasal spray, Dalton said. But each dose has a shelf life of approximately a year, so in a few months, unused dosages would have to be scrapped and replaced.
Under the terms of a memo signed Monday, Kennedy and Inspira will now begin to replace Narcan doses when they are used, said Dalton.
The initial $6,000 came from forfeiture funds, so may have actually come from drug dealers, Dalton said.
As the program continues, Dalton will consider approving the use of forfeiture funds at municipal levels to pay for Narcan, if necessary — perhaps when it’s time to replace doses that have expired, not been used.
But for now, the two hospital systems that serve Gloucester County will pick up part of the tab.
Dalton said double doses of Narcan were abut $50 each when the program was launched, but now a company that is the sole supplier, has more than doubled that cost per double dosage pack.
In 2013, there were 72 drug overdose deaths in Gloucester County, Dalton said. In 2014 — the Narcan program launched in September — there were 53. This year, so far, there have been 10, he said.
“Our Number 1 goal is to save lives,” said Dalton.
John DiAngelo, president and CEO of Inspira Health Network, and Joseph W. Devine, president and CEO of Kennedy Health, signed the memo with Dalton.