ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Thousands of New York City police officers should soon be carrying emergency antidotes to help deal with the recent spike in heroin overdoses.
The state attorney general’s office is providing the New York Police Department with $1.17 million from civil and criminal forfeiture cases to pay for 19,500 kits intended to equip patrol officers, including those assigned to transit and housing bureaus. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Police Commissioner William Bratton discussed the program Tuesday.
Kits contain two syringes and two inhalers of naloxone — also marketed under the brand name Narcan — and instructions. They cost about $60 each with a two-year shelf life.
In less than two months since establishing the reimbursement program, more than 150 law enforcement agencies are getting about 25,000 naloxone kits, Schneiderman said.
“By providing NYPD officers with naloxone, we are making this stunningly effective overdoes antidote available in every corner of the five boroughs,” he said. “This program will literally save lives.”
Bratton hopes the second chance at life gets addicts into treatment.
“This is what we would hope would be a first step with somebody coming that close to death with an overdose that would recognize that they need to do something about their addiction,” Bratton said.
The federal Department of Justice reports that heroin overdose deaths increased by 45 percent between 2006 and 2010. The New York City Department of Health said fatal heroin-related overdoses increased by 84 percent between 2010 and 2012 after four years of decline.
On Friday, NYPD officers in Staten Island used the drug to save two men who overdosed, the Staten Island Advance reported.
In Suffolk County, it was used last year to save 563 lives, according to the attorney general’s office. In Quincy, Massachusetts, the first department in the U.S. to require its officers carry the kits, they had used it 221 times by February to successfully reverse 211 overdoses.
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