In an effort to stem the opiate epidemic in New York, state attorney general Eric Schneiderman is pushing for a program that would have all law enforcement officers carry naloxone, a drug that revives overdose victims and has proven to save lives. The Suffolk County Police Department has stopped 184 overdoses since they began carrying the drug in 2012, and a pilot program by the NYPD on Staten Island saved three people in the first three months.
The Times reports that Schneiderman's program to train law enforcement officers to use naloxone (commercially known as Narcan) would be paid with money seized from drug raids. Heroin overdoses have increased by 84% in the city from 2010 to 2012. Nationwide, heroin use has increased 80% since 2007, and overdoses kill 100 people every day. “Heroin is destroying our communities,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “Naloxone is stunningly effective at stopping an overdose in its tracks.”
During an overdose, opiate molecules attach themselves to the brain and slow a victim's breathing. Naloxone safely displaces these molecules within seconds. The drug is not habit-forming or toxic, and those who aren't law enforcement officers or paramedics can receive a prescription for naloxone after receiving training from the Health Department. An Assembly bill proposed in February would increase access to the drug.
Activist Terri Kroll began carrying the drug after her son fatally overdosed in 2009. She saved an overdose victim's life last year when she injected him with a dose of naloxone.
I put the needle together and asked, ‘Do you want me to do it?’ and he said, ‘yes,’ ” she recalled. “It’s absolutely amazing that when you inject somebody, within seconds it reverses it. Within seconds, he was talking to the police officer.”