Legislator's Bill To Help Combat Heroin Epidemic Advances

Daniel Hubbard, Englewood Patch 

Legislation ensuring that schools and hospitals have ample access to Narcan to combat heroin overdoses advanced through the state Assembly Thursday.

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-District 37) is co-sponsoring the legislation. The bill would amend the state Overdose Prevention Act. It would require the Bergen County Health Department to obtain and have keep on hand opioid antidotes, including Narcan, for schools, first responders, and hospitals. Whenever any of them is about to run out of their supply of Narcan or other similar medication, the county health department would be required to provide the individual or group with more of the medication from its reserve.

Narcan was administered 187 times in Bergen County in 2015. It helped save 170 of those lives.

"We need to make sure this life-saving drug is readily available," Vainieri Huttle said in a statement. "If we can save lives, we stand a fighting chance of getting them into treatment and on the road to recovery."