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  • Writer's pictureKristin Guglietti

Narcan presentation at the Canoe Club

Kristin Guglietti/THG Brian Wilson, Program Coordinator Drug and Alcohol Abuse at Atlantic County Division of Public Health (center) gave a presentation for opioid awareness and Narcan training to a group of seniors at the Canoe Club on August 15. Hammonton Drug Alliance Coordinator Mary Young (fourth from the left) organized the event.

The Hammonton Drug Alliance trained a group of seniors on how to administer Narcan at the Canoe Club on August 15 that was highlighted by Brian Wilson, Program Coordinator Drug and Alcohol Abuse at Atlantic County Division of Public Health, giving a presentation on opioid awareness and Narcan training.

Narcan, which is a brand name for the medication Naloxene, is used to block the effects of opioids. It comes in a nasal spray. Once sprayed, Naloxone can last in the body for 30 to 90 minutes; it works only on opioids.

Hammonton Drug Alliance Coordinator Mary Young organized the event.

“Narcan is important because it saves lives. That’s why everybody should be trained,” Young said.

During the presentation, Wilson showed data from, which show the number of suspected overdose deaths, Naloxone administrations and opioid prescriptions in New Jersey from 2022-2023. The Narcan administration data is from first responders only and doesn’t count civilian administrations.

Last year, according to the data from, there were 2,893 suspected overdose deaths, 15,407 naloxone administrations, and 3,348,120 opioid prescriptions in New Jersey.

From January 2023 to April 2023, there were 910 suspected overdose deaths, 4,886 naloxone administrations and 1,056,342 opioid prescriptions in New Jersey.

Wilson then showed data from Atlantic County over the last 10 years.

In Atlantic County, there were 84 suspected overdose deaths in 2013.

“That [number] more than doubled moving into 2018, and then it kind of leveled out a little bit and hit an all-time high last year with 255 suspected overdose deaths here in Atlantic County,” Wilson said.

There are six steps on how to administer Narcan.

“Call 911, scene safety check, try to stimulate the person, initial two rescue breaths, administer Narcan followed by one breath every five seconds,” Wilson said. “If they don’t respond in two minutes, hit them with a second dose and then continue with the rescue breathing. Once they respond, encourage them to stay put; encourage them to go with the medical, first responders to the hospital and then encourage them to get treatment.”

Some signs of an opioid overdose include unconsciousness, extreme drowsiness, shallow breathing, pale skin, slow or no heartbeat, blue fingernails and gurgling noises.

There are no adverse effects if there is no overdose but Narcan is still administered. If a person is having a heart attack, Narcan is not going to hurt them, Wilson said.

“When in doubt, spray it out,” he said.

There’s only one dose in the nasal spray, so it’s important to not test it; use it only when needed.

Later in the presentation, Wilson talked about proper drug disposal.

“There was a lack of proper drug disposal back in the ‘90s and early 2000s,” Wilson said.

“Now we have over 27 permanent prescription drop-box locations in Atlantic County. Most of them are in your police departments, available 24/7. They only take pills and patches.”

Young said the Hammonton Police Department does not have a drop-box, but does a collection once a month.

After the presentation, attendees were given two doses of Narcan and a Deterra drug deactivation system bag.

“If you don’t have the means of transportation or you’re apprehensive of going to a police department or pharmacy with your medication. You can use one of these bags to dispose of it in the privacy of your own home,” Wilson said.

After unused medications are placed inside the bag and filled halfway with warm water, the bag can be sealed and disposed of with regular trash.

Wilson said to not dispose medications in the sink or toilet because that could contaminate the waterways.

He also discussed why it’s important to lock up medications.

“Seventy-five percent of people who are suffering with addiction get their substances, get their pain medications, from their friends and family with or without them knowing, so that’s why it’s very important to lock up your medications,” Wilson said.

For more information about the program, call Wilson at (609) 645-5932 or email him at


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