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College Cops Strapped With Narcan

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently announced that 258 campus police officers at 12 SUNY schools—including SUNY Farmingdale State College—are being armed with naloxone, an extremely effective heroin antidote that can instantly undo the effects of an opioid or heroin overdose.

The antidote, more commonly known as Narcan, will be provided as part of Schneiderman’s Community Overdose Prevention Program, which uses funds seized from drug dealers and other criminals to reimburse local police departments for the cost of naloxone kits.

“The COP Program is an essential part of our effort to combat the epidemic of heroin overdoses plaguing communities here in New York State and across the country,” Schneiderman said, during a presentation at SUNY Purchase College in Harrison, NY. “In just the past year, we’ve seen multiple students overdose on SUNY campuses—a tragic reminder that the crisis we’ve seen in the news is not so far from our students’ dorm rooms. By providing SUNY campus officers with naloxone, we are making this stunningly effective overdose antidote available to institutions that educate and care for our students.”

Since the program’s launch, on April 3, more than 200 law enforcement agencies have applied to the program, with several dozen completing the necessary steps to become eligible. Currently, the program has approved distribution of nearly 28,000 Narcan kits to 164 police departments statewide.

Each naloxone kit consists of a zip bag or pouch containing two prefilled syringes of naloxone, two atomizers for nasal administration, sterile gloves and a booklet on the use of the drug. The cost of a naloxone kit is approximately $60, and the shelf life of each kit is approximately two years.  

The success of naloxone in combatting opioid overdoses cannot be overstated. Since the fall of 2010, the police department of Quincy, Massachusetts, the first department in the nation to require its officers to carry naloxone, has used the drug 221 times and successfully reversed 211 overdoses (as of February), a success rate of over 95 percent. In Suffolk County, state police have saved more than 170 people thanks to naloxone.