GUILDERLAND Saving the life of an opioid overdose victim costs about $60.
The investment, and training, could be an impediment within tight budgets, so state officials are helping covering the expense to provide a lifeline.
The Guilderland Police Department was the first law enforcement agency statewide to be awarded Community Overdose Prevention (COP) program funding. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman kicked off the first round of awards at Guilderland Town Hall on Tuesday, May 6. The department received $2,100 to fully reimburse equipping and training 35 officers to use naloxone kits.
AG: Heroin appeal growing
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman talks about the problem of heroin losing its stigma during a press conference on the first round of Community Overdose Prevention program awards Tuesday, May 6, at Guilderland Town Hall .
More than 2,000 state residents died in 2011 from opioid overdoses, according to Schneiderman, which was more than double the amount of such deaths in 2004.
“I’m very pleased to be here in Guilderland to talk about a life saving public health initiative that begins right here,” Schneiderman said. “I commend Guilderland to be the first community in the state of New York to take advantage of our new Community Overdose Prevention program.”
More than 100 law enforcement agencies have already applied for the first round of reimbursements available to nearly 30 counties, which will provide funds for more than 1,070 naloxone kits. The COP program uses criminal and civil forfeiture funds to purchase kits, with more than $5 million earmarked for it. The drug has a shelf life of two years.
The kit includes a zip pouch containing two prefilled syringes of naloxone, two atomizers for nasal administration, sterile gloves and a booklet on using the drug. Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, allows an overdose victim to start breathing again. This allows for time to get victims to a hospital for treatment.
“Naloxone is an amazing drug that saves lives,” Schneiderman said. “This is a very, very important tool for law enforcement.”
Schneiderman said the Hudson River Valley area has the highest per-capita hospital admission rate for heroin overdoses in the state.