Bill to Supersede Outdated Bureaucratic EMS Protocols Gains Assembly Approval
Legislation to supersede overbearing local EMS protocols mired in bureaucratic red tape that are putting the well-being of New Jersey residents in danger gained approval 72-1-1 from the full Assembly on Thursday, March 16th.The bill’s (A-4467) two-pronged approach would allow first responders to more quickly deploy additional doses of naloxone – the life-saving anti-overdose medication – without an additional and unnecessary approval of their EMS Director and allow first responder departments to use any FDA-approved naloxone product, regardless of dosage.
Current protocols coming from the New Jersey Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) mandate that first responders – including EMT’s and Firefighters – can only give one dose of naloxone, and if the patient is not revived, attempt to call their EMS Director for approval of additional doses. The same protocols also limit first responders’ access to varying naloxone products, including the name brand NARCAN® nasal spray because of the higher dosage in the new products. Only EMT and fire departments are under this direction, while police departments and even civilians are free from these restrictions.
Besides the dreaded phone call for authorization, OEMS is also limiting the market by only allowing first responder departments to purchase 2mg versions of naloxone. Products like the NARCAN® Nasal Spray, a 4mg product and one of the cheapest products on the market, is not allowed to be purchased by departments overseen by OEMS. In the “traditional” dose of 2mg naloxone, the patient only actually absorbs 0.4mg. In new products such as NARCAN® Nasal Spray, the dose is 4mg with 2mg actually being absorbed. In many case, the higher dose negates the need for additional doses. Likewise, in October 2016, two advisory panels convened by the FDA voted to recommend an increase of the minimum naloxone dose to 2mg absorption. The state Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association (FMBA) has also lent their support to the bill, as well. The measure now heads to the Senate for consideration.