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 New Jersey Senate.
“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.”
Schepisi’s legislation, S-3803, allows paramedics to offer patients buprenorphine—under the medical direction of a licensed, supervising physician—after the patient’s opioid overdose is reversed using naloxone.
Beyond treating the withdrawal symptoms that can occur from a naloxone revival, buprenorphine can help curb cravings resulting from an opioid use disorder and can partially block the effects of opioid use.
“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.