New Mandate Calls for Prescribed Narcan
In the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic, alcoholics and addicts in active addiction have been sequestered into a much more delicate and dangerous situation. Increased isolation, lack of employment, and limited interaction with a support network have made it much more difficult for those with a history of substance abuse to find recovery. Experts in the addiction field are projecting much higher rates of alcohol and drug abuse in the coming months, and have seen a substantial uptick in active cases thus far. In a new development of overdose prevention, doctors are now required to administer an additional treatment to patients with an opioid script: prescribed Narcan.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced that health care practitioners must now include prescribed Narcan for patients that regularly take high doses of opioids.
For clarification, Narcan is an overdose-reversing drug that can save a life in the event of an opioid overdose. We have seen in the past the expanded distribution of Narcan in addition to arming first responders with the life saving measure.
The new order calls for prescribed Narcan for patients whose prescriptions total 90 morphine milligram equivalents or more a day.
Addiction and medical officials have responded positively to the new mandate of prescribed Narcan, and indicated that the announcement is coming at a time “when we need it most.”
- Overdose-Related Deaths: 253 in March and 241 in April (compared to 215 in March 2019 and 209 in April 2020)
- First Responder Narcan Revivals: 1,237 in March and 1,197 in April (compared to 1,139 in March 2019 and 1,054 in April 2019)
Earlier this year, Governor Murphy announced that the state had already seen an initial spike in overdose-related deaths; and with the COVID-19 crisis, it appears that trend has proceeded in an unfortunate direction.
As a disclaimer, Narcan does not encourage nor allow for repeated or abused opioid use. It is simply a heat-of-the-moment measure that is used to save a life.
As always, if you or a loved one are struggling, please do not hesitate to reach out. Our Executive Director is ready and waiting to point you in the right direction for proper addiction treatment services.