By David Madden

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — New Jersey Governor Chris Christie this week expanded a pilot program to allow every state police officer to carry the nasal spray version of Narcan, a drug that can literally save the life of someone overdosing on narcotics.

It’s a program that’s already proven successful in many parts of the state, including the city of Camden.

19 people have died on Camden streets this year from drug overdoses before cops were equipped with Narcan. That was little more than 3 weeks ago.

Camden County Police Metro Division chief Scott Thomson says things have turned around quickly.

“Since then, we’ve been able to save 7 lives and it’s been a very productive program from the standpoint of us being able to send people back home to their loved ones,” he said.

Narcan, which cancels the effects of drugs like heroin, crack cocaine and the like, is as easy to use as a nasal decongestant. But it’s no miracle cure, either for addiction or the crime that often comes along with it.

Camden County is forming a new opiate and heroin addiction awareness task force, mainly because surveys show drug abuse continues to rise.

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