Trenton – Acting to help counter the tragic number of overdose deaths fueled by the opioid epidemic, the Senate today approved a bill authored by Senator Joe Cryan that would allow public libraries to keep supplies of life-saving Narcan available.
The bill, S-2321, approved with a vote of 34-1, would authorize librarians and other library employees to be trained and quipped with the opioid antidote in order to treat overdose victims.
“Narcan can be the difference between life and death for someone experiencing an overdose, so it’s important that it’s readily available,” said Senator Cryan. “Libraries are gathering centers for a community, so it is common sense that they are prepared to respond to these emergencies. There have been an alarming number of overdoses at libraries throughout the country and we have also seen a growing number of lives saved by library staff who acted quickly with naloxone spray.”
Narcan is the brand name for Naloxone, an easily administered aerosol spray that rapidly reverses opioid overdoses.
“The opioid crisis in our country is not confined to dark alleys or areas beneath bridges,” said Senator Cryan. “It is a tragedy that is taking lives in suburban, urban and rural communities and it has found its way into and near public libraries.”
This bill would permit public libraries with at least one employee trained to administer the medicine to obtain supplies of Narcan through a standing order or from a pharmacist, and keep it stored in a secured location. And the bill would authorize the Commissioner of Human Services to establish a grant program to assist the libraries with the costs and would provide immunity from liability for the “good faith acts” of the libraries and staff.