Law enforcement armed with life-saving drug reversing overdoses

Updated: 04/03/2014 6:20 PM
Created: 04/03/2014 6:02 PM WHEC.com
By: Rachel Spotts

News10NBC has been tracking the increasing number of heroin cases and how it is impacting the Rochester community, from arrests to deaths caused by overdoses. 

According to sources close to the investigation, the latest case involves University of Rochester student Juliette Richard who died over the weekend.

News10NBC learned that residents and police officers across the state could soon be armed with an antidote to help save lives and reverse the effects of an overdose.

Providing law enforcement with the antidote Naloxone, more commonly known as Narcan, is a big step in the right direction. The head of emergency medical training at the Rochester Fire Department says they’ve been equipped with the drug for almost two years. He says using it has given people a second chance.

Darrin Batty, paramedic, said, “When people receive too much of those kinds of medications, opioids, they tend to slow or stop their breathing. So when you administer an opioid blocker, it allows them to start breathing again.”

Darrin batty oversees training for emergency medical services with the Rochester Fire Department. He says this pilot program began in August of 2012. 

Batty said, “In that time frame, about 20 months or so, we've had roughly 120 uses with near 100 percent success.”

Now all law enforcement officials in New York will be armed with it. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the statewide initiative Thursday on Long Island. 

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said, “There is no question that it is saving lives and by expanding its availability today, we will save many more lives.”

Each kit costs about $60 and has a shelf life of roughly two years. So who's going to foot the bill? The state's community overdose prevention or cop program. It will also pay for training so officers know how to use Narcan. 

Batty said, “There's no contaminants, there's no needles to be disposed of.  It's quick and effective, without having to worry about establishing an IV first.”

The attorney general says the program is being funded by money recovered from drug dealers.

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