New Jersey Suboxone Program
(June 26, 2019)
Paramedics in New Jersey will soon begin to provide buprenorphine to victims of opioid overdoses, reports Stat News. The state’s health commissioner, Dr. Shereef Elnahal, has authorized paramedics to give overdose victims Suboxone at the scene of the overdose. The 1,900 eligible paramedics still need to receive permission from their units’ emergency physician. When they are called to help a victim of opioid overdose, paramedics will first offer naloxone (an overdose antidote), and then will give Suboxone to help the victim through withdrawal symptoms. But the new plan’s proponents also hope that buprenorphine use will help overdose victims seek long-term opioid recovery.
This Suboxone program is the first in the nation. Many American emergency rooms have doctors who can prescribe buprenorphine, and they have seen some success there. But increasing Suboxone access to include paramedics is a large de-regulation for the medication. Addiction experts and policymakers will watch the program to see if it helps those suffering from opioid addiction into long-term recovery.