Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Holly Schepisi that allows paramedics to administer buprenorphine, which is used to treat acute withdrawal symptoms after patients are revived from an opioid overdose with naloxone, was approved by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.
Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Sen. Holly Schepisi that allows paramedics to administer buprenorphine was advanced by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. (SenateNJ.com)
“Each year, tens of thousands of Americans lose their lives from an opioid-related overdose, and the pandemic has only exacerbated this tragic reality,” said Schepisi (R-39). “The unprecedented rise in opioid-related deaths shows that we need to do more to combat the addiction crisis. My legislation will provide our first responders with the necessary tools to combat this insidious epidemic, prevent future opioid-related deaths, and get more people on the road to recovery.”
Under the bill, S-3803, paramedics can offer patients buprenorphine, after their opioid overdose is reversed using the opioid antidote naloxone. Beyond treating the withdrawal symptoms that can result from a naloxone revival, administering buprenorphine on the scene can serve as an immediate transition to longer-term treatment.
“Although the challenges of every community are unique, including how to best meet the needs of those with addiction, all of New Jersey has been affected by this crisis,” added Schepisi. “By providing additional training to paramedics across the state, and allowing them to administer buprenorphine in certain situations, we can help end a crisis that has taken the lives of so many New Jerseyans.”
Schepisi’s bipartisan legislation—also sponsored by Sen. Joseph Vitale, Chair of the Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee—codifies a directive from former Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal in June 2019 that authorized paramedics to carry buprenorphine to treat acute withdrawal symptoms after patients were revived from an opioid overdose with Naloxone. Current New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli extended the directive.