From left, Timothy Reed of the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office, Recovery Specialist Siobhan Lopez, Lindsay Dragon of Legacy Treatment Services, Atlantic County Sheriff Eric Scheffler and Scott Gras of AtlantiCare at a Hope One session in Ventnor.

MAYS LANDING – The Atlantic County Sheriff Eric Scheffler today announced the receipt of a federal grant to provide overdose prevention training for first responders in Atlantic County.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration approved the $2 million grant. The Sheriff’s Office and Rowan University will receive $500,000 in the first year and a total of $2 million dollars over a four-year period.

“This grant will enhance access to naloxone for first responders, helping them to save the lives of individuals who experience an opiate overdose and prevent future fatal overdoses,” Scheffler said.

Naloxone or the name-brand Narcan is a medication that can reverse an overdose by opioids, such as heroin and oxycodone.

Chief Warrant Officer Tim Reed of the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office will be the project director and will collaborate with Dr. Richard Jermyn of Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine to implement the first responder training program.

The program will train Atlantic County police, firefighters, casino and hospital security, and emergency medical technicians on a novel train-the-trainer model that will distribute naloxone and train overdose survivors and their family members on its use.

A portion of the grant money will be used to create an Atlantic County Quick Response Team that will interface with the Sheriff’s Office HOPE-1 Mobile Recovery Unit. The Quick Response Team will consist of police, EMTs, a social worker, a substance use counselor, and a Rowan medical student. The team will visit overdose survivors and their families within 72 hours of an overdose providing them with compassionate outreach and recovery support and assist in engaging them in treatment.  The response team will also provide training on how to carry and use naloxone.

The grant will also enable the development of a curriculum to train first responders and community members on fentanyl safety.

“We are extremely excited to be able to provide Narcan on the frontlines and in the hands of those that need it the most,” Scheffler said. “Narcan saves lives and we are determined to turn the tides of this epidemic.”

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.