As the use of heroin and opioid pills continues to increase in New York City (and most of the rest of the country), the New York State attorney general's office will provide the NYPD with $1.2 million to purchase the anti-overdose medication naloxone. The money, to be drawn from criminal and civil asset seizures, is enough for around 19,500 kits, each of which has two pre-filled syringes and two inhalers containing the drug, as well as protective gloves and instructions. The kits will be distributed to patrol officers and other cops who are likely to encounter drug users who have overdosed.
While it's not clear when exactly officers will start carrying the naxolone. "Training is going to be a big factor here," said NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis. The antidote, which has long been used in hospitals and, more recently, in successful trial programs in Suffolk County and Staten Island, sounds fairly easy to administer: "The results are rapid and there are no harmful effects if the drug is given to someone who is not overdosing or has taken too much of a non-opiate drug, such as cocaine," the New York Times notes. Meanwhile, 150 other police departments across the state have applied to receive part of the $5 million total Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has set aside for buying naxolone. Unfortunately, in the face of a new opiate epidemic, equipping cops with something to keep people from dying from is just common sense.