New York City police officers will begin to carry antidote kits for those who overdose on heroin, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Police Commissioner William Bratton said his department would join a $5 million effort by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Police officers will be equipped and trained to use a nasally administered “naloxone kit” – the spray version of a drug antidote that revives those who may have taken a fatal dose of heroin or a similar opiate.
The naloxone antidote program being adopted by the nation's largest police force follows the groundbreaking work of the police department in Quincy, Ma., which became the nation’s first department to require its officers to carry naloxone in 2010. Since then, Quincy police officers have saved the lives of 211 of 221 people who overdosed on heroin or opioids. In suburban Suffolk County, the heavily populated Long Island area east of New York City nearly 600 lives were saved last year. In Staten Island, the borough where the city has seen its highest rates of overdoses, the antidote has saved at least 42 lives in the last month.