Battle Over NJ’s Narcan Program Rages On - KMSP-TV

Battle Over NJ’s Narcan Program Rages On

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Monmouth Beach, New Jersey (My9NJ) -

As Chasing New Jersey previously reported, in June, Governor Christie announced a statewide expansion of the Narcan pilot in response to the heroin epidemic across New Jersey. Narcan can be used in the case of a heroin overdose to save someone’s life.

Danny LaPointe is a former heroin addict who now describes himself as a person in long-term recovery from a substance abuse disorder. He says that heroin doesn’t discriminate and while some may be surprised by his story, it is not unique. He grew up in Metuchen surrounded by a loving family, and even won the DARE essay contest of “why not to try drugs” when he was 12 years-old. However, just one month later he tried marijuana for the first time, which eventually led to a 13-year struggle with addiction, near death experiences and the loss of other friends to overdoses. These are experiences he will never forget.

“I’ll never forget what I’ve been through and I make sure of that on a daily basis, but I do have everyday reminders, things I see on myself. This is a scar from an abscess from hypodermic needles,” he shared.

While LaPointe wasn’t saved by Narcan himself, he fully supports the use of it and knows it has already saved lives.

Joe Schrank is the founder of Rebound Brooklyn and he provides addiction treatment. He not only speaks as an expert, but also as a person who lost a dear friend to a heroin overdose. Greg Giraldo was a comedian and friend of Schrank’s who died of a heroin overdose in a hotel room here in New Jersey. Schrank believes that if the hotel had access to Narcan, Greg might still be alive today.

“Narcan is a very simple thing and it blocks opiate perception and restores breathing, so that’s essentially what it does…it’s about as complicated as a nasal spray,” he said.

However, the battle rages on over who should be footing the bill for this program. Schrank says that it is a lot less expensive than funeral or prison costs.

“You can also tax intoxicating substances to pay for things like this. The state of New Jersey has not raised taxed on alcohol in many years. Also they can tax medical marijuana to pay for things like this,” Schrank suggested.

 

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