By REBECA IBARRA
Spurred by a drastic spike in drug overdose deaths, New York City officials announced on Tuesday plans to arm over 600 police officers with a potentially “life-saving” heroin antidote.
“We will be equipping New York City police officers with an amazing drug that saves lives,” said state
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, at a news conference in the main concourse of Penn Station.
Heroin-related overdoses increased 84 percent from 2010 to 2012, Schneiderman said.
“Anyone who thought heroin use was a thing of the past had better think again,” said MTA Vice Chairman Fernando Ferrer.
The drug knows as naloxone reverses the effects of a fatal heroin overdose almost immediately if administered within 20 to 90 minutes, Schneiderman said. The Attorney General’s Community Overdose Prevention Program has pledged to give the MTA $40,000 collected from drug bust forfeitures to buy 670 naloxone kits.
Each kit costs $60 and contains two prefilled syringes of naloxone and two atomizers for nasal administration, said MTA Police Chief Michael Coan.
Training will begin immediately, Coan said, and more than 600 police officers who patrol the Long Island Rail Road, Metro North and the Staten Island Railway are expected to know how to handle heroin overdoses and administer antidote by the fall.
“Young adults are dying every week,” said Susan Salomone, whose son overdosed on heroin two years ago. “We need to use every tool in our arsenal to combat this deadly epidemic.”