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A Long Night in Toms River: Three Overdose Saves in 12 Hours

Two of the ODs came within an hour of each other

A Narcan kit at the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
A Narcan kit at the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
It was a long 12 hours for Toms River's first responders on Wednesday night, responding to three drug overdoses in the short span, a microcosm of the scale of Ocean County's drug crisis in a single half-day.

It began with a call 5:45 p.m. when a 26-year-old woman was reported unresponsive at an OakRidge Parkway address by her boyfriend, police spokesman Ralph Stocco said.

The trio of police officers, Toms River Police EMS and MONOC paramedics responded. Narcan – the so-called opiate "antidote" that can temporarily reverse the effects of heroin and opioid prescripion drug overdoses – was administered and the woman lived. She was taken to Community Medical Center, Stocco said.

By 6:24 p.m., officers and medics were dealing with another call. This time it was to the parking of the Office Lounge bar and restaurant off Route 37, where a 24-year-old male was found unconscious in the passenger seat of a car.

"His female friend picked him up in Bayville and she immediately observed that he was under the influence of something," said Stocco.

By the time they got to Toms River, he passed out. Once again, Narcan was used to revive the man and take him to the hospital.

Fast forward a few more hours.

The third save came at the Sun and Sand Motel on Route 37 East as day was breaking at 6:25 a.m. Thursday.

A 32 year old male was found unresponsive in his bed, Stocco said, eliciting a response from police and medical units, who once again delivered a dose of nasal Narcan, reviving the man. Like the two victims before him, he was brought to a local hospital.

Detectives are continuing to investigate the three cases in an attempt to determine if they are related by a specific brand of narcotic used or potentially similar distribution networks, Stocco said.

In addition to the three cases between Wednesday and Thursday, Toms River police officers have also saved two additional lives in the last two weeks using Narcan, Stocco said.

Police officers are trained in the use of this medication that counteracts the effects of narcotic use because they are often first on the scene of an overdose, even before EMTs or paramedics arrive. Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato pushed the state legislature to enact the program and legalize Naloxone, the name of the drug in the Narcan-branded nasal spray.

The program is funded through the cash and property seized from drug dealers when they are arrested, authorities have said. Each Narcan kit costs about $25.

Stocco said anyone with information on drug distribution within Toms River is urged to contact the department at a confidential phone number: 732-349-0150, extension 1272.
Heywood May 24, 2014 at 09:14 AM
@Hazel, I think part of the problem is that people have a low tolerance for pain, hence the apparent over use of pain meds. When a patient complains of pain the Dr's have little choice, but to prescribe. A nurse friend of mine who works in an ER says they are constantly besieged with people in pain, looking for drugs. With a quick check on the data base, it's often discovered they are "repeat customers".
Marynary May 24, 2014 at 10:31 AM
That is two different situations. People legitimately in need of medical help and people trying to scam dope from the ER. Sick people should never be denied treatment because the low life abusers of narcotics try any way they can to get their drugs.
mike mc May 24, 2014 at 08:17 PM
sorry but "ADDICTION" not a DISEASE!! its self inflicted.!!!

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