By Commissioner Director Louis Cappelli Jr.
Recently, the Board of Commissioners joined the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, the Camden County Addiction Awareness Task Force and staff from University of Pennsylvania’s Schools of Nursing and the Annenberg School for Communications unveiled a virtual reality Naloxone training video created for Camden County.
The Camden County Prosecutor’s Office enlisted the University of Pennsylvania to create a locally tailored training video on Narcan administration, using virtual reality to create an immersive viewing experience. The nine-minute video was supported by funding from the 2022 Overdose Data to Action Operation Helping Hand grant, administered by the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General.
The training video which was filmed in Camden County, will be used for a fast and easy alternative to support the Naloxone training in schools for students, staff and administrators, bus drivers and other entities that carry the lifesaving pharmaceutical.
From January to October 2023, there were 10,200 administrations of Narcan across the state of New Jersey and 1,312 in Camden County.
In 2019 and early 2020, Natalie Herbert, a doctoral candidate at Annenberg at the time, led a team that tested VR training against in-person instruction at naloxone giveaways and training clinics the Philadelphia Department of Health held at local libraries. The researchers found the VR training was just as effective in educating people, publishing their findings in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence in 2020.
The Camden County Commissioners continue to implement a variety of harm reduction policies by installing Naloxone boxes throughout the county park system and every public school from Camden City to Winslow Township. Additionally, the Commissioners also provide free Narcan training sessions, fentanyl test strips, NaloxBoxes for social service organizations and mental health support for those who have lost a loved one to substance use disorder.
Narcan is a critical tool in our battle against the opioid and overdose epidemic. It is imperative that as many people as possible are trained in how to administer this lifesaving medication and this instructional video will help us do that.
We have been battling this public health emergency for more than 10 years. But Narcan has made an incredible impact by reversing the effects of an overdose. By training and equipping people to use this life saving medication, we can really make a difference in the opioid and fatal overdose epidemic.
Anyone seeking addiction assistance should call 1-844-ReachNJ (732-2465), which provides free professional support for those facing addiction and their loved ones. If you are a Camden County resident suffering from substance abuse disorder, please call the Office of Mental Health and Addiction at (856) 374-6361.
For more information on Camden County, visit www.camdencounty.com. If you have any other questions about Camden County services, please call me at (856) 225-5451 or email me at lou.cappelli@CamdenCounty.com. Also, you can like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/camdencountynj and follow us on Twitter @camdencountynj