New Jersey’s health commissioner last month authorized paramedics to administer buprenorphine, a drug used to treat opioid addiction, to patients after reviving them from an opioid overdose using an antidote (typically the drug naloxone).
Buprenorphine currently is used by authorized physicians treating patients in the emergency department. However, no other state has extended this authority to paramedics. According to the state, the first-in-the-nation approach has two aims: to address withdrawal symptoms that might result from overdose treatment and to immediately transition patients to longer-term opioid addiction treatment.
New Jersey’s 1,900 paramedics will need permission from the emergency physician overseeing their unit before administering buprenorphine when responding to an overdose call.
To learn more, see America’s Essential Hospitals’ State Action resource page on state policies to prevent opioid overdose.
Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.