Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni was joined by medical and school officials from across the county today to announce a program to equip every high school in the county with the life-saving antidote, naloxone. Prosecutor Gramiccioni stressed the importance of our schools being prepared in the event of an overdose emergency.
The idea to put naloxone in schools was the brainchild of Josh Estin, a student at Monmouth County’s Academy of Allied Health and Science in Neptune City. He put forth the idea to Prosecutor Gramiccioni, who immediately recognized the benefits of the program.
“We have not had a drug overdose death at any school in Monmouth County. But with that said, one never knows whether an overdose could occur at or near a school. Having additional trained staff to administer naloxone, if necessary, can save a life,” Gramiccioni told school officials today. “This training is precautionary, but a necessary safeguard in light of the scope of this epidemic. I hope schools never have to use these kits, but we want them to be prepared.”
Every public, private and parochial high school in Monmouth County is now armed with the same life-saving antidote that law enforcement officers, EMTs and firefighters have been carrying since 2014. Naloxone is responsible for saving nearly 1,000 lives in our county since its deployment. Statewide, naloxone has been deployed nearly 10,000 over the past 3 years.
Dr. Victor Almeida, Director of the Emergency Department at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, instructed school officials on the depth of the epidemic and provided training for the use of naloxone in the event an overdose were to take place at school.
“The latest reports from drug abuse experts indicate our young people are at the greatest risk for drug addiction. We can’t ignore the fact that kids are using and abusing drugs and dying at alarming rates. We must battle this deadly addiction, and these naloxone kits will help fight the fight,” said Monmouth County Chief of Detectives Michael Pasterchick.
Earlier this year, an 11-year-old Cape May County boy was saved by naloxone after he overdosed using an opioid. In Monmouth County, overdoses have been seen in people as young as 15 years old.
The naloxone kits were distributed to all the schools and provided free-of-charge by Adapt Pharma, of Radnor, Pa.