June 2, 2014

NYPD Giving Patrol Cops Drug Kits To Reverse Heroin ODs

By Mark Toor


PATRICK J. LYNCH: ‘Will save lives.’



WILLIAM J. BRATTON: Worked in Staten Island.


The NYPD will equip 19,500 officers who patrol city streets, housing projects and the transit system with a drug that can instantly reverse the effects of an overdose of an opioid like heroin, Police Commissioner William J. Bratton and State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced May 28.

“A recent pilot project on Staten Island has already proven effective with several overdose victims,” Mr. Bratton said. “We look forward to the expansion of the program.”

$60 a Kit

Mr. Schneiderman said his office will provide at least $1.2 million for the purchase of kits containing two syringes filled with the drug naloxone, two atomizers for administering it through the nose, sterile gloves and an instruction booklet. Each kit costs $60 and has a shelf life of two years.

Mr. Bratton said officers will receive 45 minutes of training on how to use the kit. Only limited training is needed because naloxone is injected into the muscle, not a vein.

The reaction of Patrick J. Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, was positive but qualified. “We become police officers to help people and we see too many people die during the course of our careers,” he said in a statement. “Given this antidote and the training of how and when to use it will help save lives, but it represents yet another responsibility placed on the shoulders of our already-overburdened, understaffed and underpaid police officers.”

Funded by Forfeitures

The money for the naloxone kits comes from Mr. Schneiderman’s Community Overdose Prevention program, launched April 3. His office said 150 law-enforcement agencies have already applied for funds and several dozen more are in the process. Funding has been approved for about 25,000 kits.

The program was funded with $5 million from civil and criminal forfeitures, his office said.

Between fall 2010 and February of this year, the Police Department of Quincy, Mass., the first in the nation to require its officers to carry naloxone, used the drug 221 times and successfully reversed 211 overdoses, Mr. Schneiderman’s office said. In Suffolk County, more than 180 lives have been saved.