A.G. Schneiderman Announces Funding To Equip NYC Police Officers With Life-Saving Heroin Antidote

Stephen Nessen/WNYC

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman joined NYPD Commissioner William Bratton today in announcing  that the NYPD has joined the Attorney General’s Community Overdose Prevention (COP) Program. Attorney General Schneiderman announced that his office would provide the NYPD with funding to equip 19,500 police officers with naloxone, the extremely effective heroin antidote that can instantly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. The Attorney General’s COP Program uses funds seized from drug dealers and other criminals to reimburse local police departments for the cost of naloxone kits.

“The COP Program is an essential part of our effort to combat the spike in heroin overdoses that is plaguing communities and families here in New York City and across the state,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “By providing NYPD police officers with naloxone, we are making this stunningly effective overdose antidote available in every corner of the five boroughs. This program will literally save lives.

“The NYPD is proud to join with the New York State Attorney General in announcing the expansion of the Community Overdose Protection program,” Commissioner Bratton said. “A recent pilot project on Staten Island has already proven effective with several overdose victims. We look forward to the expansion of the program and thank the Attorney General’s Office for their continued support in this life-saving initiative.”

The COP Program will provide the NYPD, the largest police force in the United States, with at least $1,170,000 for the purchase of the kits. Police officers assigned to patrol functions, which includes officers assigned to all precincts as well as the NYPD’s Transit and Housing bureaus, will now carry the life-saving drug and be trained to administer it in a medical emergency.

Additionally, Attorney General Schneiderman announced today that, in less than two months since the COP Program was launched on April 3rd,  more than 150 law-enforcement agencies have applied to the COP Program. Several dozen more are in the process of completing the necessary steps in order to become eligible. The COP Program has now approved the distribution of approximately 25,000 kits to 150 police departments across the state.

Each naloxone kit consists of a zip bag or pouch containing two prefilled syringes of naloxone,  two atomizers for nasal administration, sterile gloves and a booklet on the use of the drug. The cost of a naloxone kit is approximately $60, and the shelf life of each kit is approximately two years.

The success of naloxone in combatting opioid overdoses cannot be overstated. Since the fall of 2010, the police department of Quincy, Massachusetts, the first department in the nation to require its officers to carry naloxone, has used the drug 221 times and successfully reversed 211 overdoses (as of February), a success rate of over 95%. In New York’s Suffolk County, 563 lives were saved last year alone.

“Equipping the NYPD with naloxone is a tremendously important step in the fight against New York’s growing opioid addiction epidemic,” said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, Chief Medical Office of Phoenix House in Manhattan. “As an alarming number of Americans are struggling with the life-threatening disease of opioid addiction, the Attorney General’s ‘COP’ Program is a national model for how government can help law-enforcement save lives.”

“Today’s announcement is a fantastic example of how the NYPD and the Attorney General’s office can support a public health and safety approach to drug use,” Matt Curtis, Policy Director at the grassroots activist group VOCAL-NY, said. “Alongside the recent passage of major state legislation to expand distribution of naloxone to people at risk of overdose, these efforts will save thousands of lives in coming years.”

Since taking office, Attorney General Schneiderman has been extremely aggressive in combatting the scourge of heroin in New York. He led the effort to rein in prescription opioid abuse by passing unanimous legislation to create I-STOP – the Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing. Initial figures indicate that I-STOP has reduced doctor-shopping – the practice of going from doctor to doctor to accumulate prescriptions – by 75% in just the first year. On the criminal side, I-STOP has led to the prosecution of several doctors who willingly participate in doctor-shopping. Separately, the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force has successfully dismantled a number of heroin rings around the state.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email