A South Jersey police department has saved its 20th life since officers began deploying Naloxone to reverse heroin overdoses a little more than a year ago.
Pine Hill police Officer William Heron came across a vehicle parked in the lot of what used to be the Saint Edwards School on the corner of Erial Road and West 5th Avenue. Heron found a man suffering a seizure in the driver's seat and rushed in to provide aid, after requesting assistance, said police.
Officer Justin Digiacomo and other emergency responders arrived on scene shortly after and administered Naloxone, aka Narcan, successfully reversing the overdose. This marked Digiacomo's 12th successful reversal in 13 attempts.
The man -- who police didn't identify -- regained consciousness at the scene and was transported by local EMS for further evaluation.
Gov. Chris Christie announced the Narcan pilot program in May 2014. Since then, Pine Hill police have administered the antidote 23 times, saving 20 lives in the process.
Still, officers are looking for ways to beef up the fight against what they call an "epidemic." In the same time period, police say there have been five suspected overdose deaths, two of which have occurred over the last month.
The Borough has taken several other steps to prevent overdose deaths such as continuing to publicize New Jersey's "Good Samaritan" law, posting drug collection drop boxes and hosting free community Narcan training events.
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New Jersey's heroin overdose death rate has been a hot topic issue for the state over the last few years. NJ.com reports the overdose death rate is triple the nationwide rate.