New York City Cops To Carry Overdose Antidote

By Shawn Dwyer 05/27/14

The nation’s largest city will finally start to combat widespread heroin overdoses with life-saving medication.

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Like many other municipalities across the state and around the country, New York City police officers will soon begin to carry naloxone, the life-saving medication that reverses the effects of heroin and other opioid-related overdoses.

Funds from the New York State attorney general’s office totaling $1.2 million will be used to provide officers with 19,500 naloxone kits in an effort to “literally save lives,” said Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

Like many areas in the northeast, New York City has been hit hard by a wave of fatal heroin overdoses, including the high profile death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. The rash of deaths has increased calls for making naloxone more widely available with police officers and other emergency responders, since they are the most likely to come into contact with someone in the midst of an overdose.

New York’s attorney general has committed a total of $5 million to reimburse police departments across the state that have purchased naloxone kits. So far, more than 150 police departments have applied for funds and payment for some 25,000 kits has been approved.

The decision to provide the state’s most populated city with life-saving kits followed a successful pilot program in Suffolk County. Since 2012, police officers in the Long Island county have saved 184 lives due to being able to administer the antidote.

While it remains unclear when NYPD officers will receive their naloxone kits, hope that even more lives will be saved has been renewed.

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.