Drug overdoses claim the lives of more than 3,000 New Jersey residents each year. Legislation sponsored by Senator Robert Singer that would help prevent fatalities was approved today by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.
Legislation sponsored by Senator Robert Singer would create county drug overdose fatality review teams to help save lives. (Flickr)
The bill, S-52, would authorize New Jersey counties to establish local drug overdose fatality review teams to develop strategies to prevent drug overdoses and promote cooperation among state and local government agencies.
“The legislation reflects a proactive approach to save lives,” said Singer (R-30). “There are lessons we can learn from each overdose that can help avert similar deaths in future. Rigorous research, analysis and evaluation can help put an end to the rampant plague of overdose that threatens our loved ones, friends and neighborhoods.”
Singer’s bill requires the Commissioner of Health to develop a uniform, standardized reporting process for drug overdose deaths, and to forward certain information concerning each death to the appropriate local drug overdose fatality review team, including certain personal details concerning the victim and the circumstances of the death.
Local drug overdose fatality review teams will also be provided with access to certain health treatment records and government records concerning the overdose victim.
“Overdose fatality review teams are being deployed effectively in other states,” Singer said. “We can do the same in New Jersey, and lives will be saved.”
The Assembly version of the bill was approved with a 72-0 vote in March.
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