NJ Human Services provides opioid antidote to homeless shelters

TRENTON, NJ — NJ Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson announced Sept. 17 that the Department is delivering the opioid overdose antidote naloxone for free to participating shelters serving the homeless as part of the department’s ongoing efforts to get naloxone into as many hands as possible to help save lives.

“Nearly 1,200 doses of the nasal spray form of naloxone are being delivered to homeless shelters across the state to put this lifesaving tool in the hands of staff who can help save lives from overdose,” Johnson said.

The shelter initiative comes on the heels of the department’s June 18 giveaway of 32,000 doses of free naloxone that did not require an individual prescription at 174 participating pharmacies throughout the state. It was considered the largest one-day free distribution in the country.

“Our goal is to save lives. We are doing everything we can to give this lifesaving antidote to as many people as possible,” Johnson said. “We need all the help we can get in fighting this deadly epidemic. New Jerseyans responded in overwhelming numbers to the June naloxone giveaway, sending a message that, when given the chance, they want to save lives. This is another opportunity to help turn the tide of the opioid epidemic.”

Currently, 36 shelters throughout the state are participating in the distribution. The naloxone delivered to the shelters is free and does not require an individual prescription. Human Services expects more participants as the program continues. Participating shelters in Essex County are: Real House I, Real House II, Circle of Life and Apostle’s House.

“We are grateful to the participating shelters for their willingness to play such a vital role in this fight,” said Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services Assistant Commissioner Valerie Mielke. “They are on the front lines, so we can certainly use their help.”