SUNY schools to get Naloxone kits to combat heroin

Updated: 08/20/2014 11:26 PM
Created: 08/20/2014 10:53 PM WHEC.com

The State Attorney General’s Office says 12 SUNY schools will be getting Naloxone kits, a prescription drug that can reverse the side effects of a heroin overdose. Officials say it works, pointing to Suffolk County where state police used it to save 170 people so far this year.

Among the schools receiving the kits are SUNY Geneseo, Buffalo and SUNY Oswego, where a student died from a heroin overdose on campus back in May.

“We need to not pretend that it’s not happening,” said Jackie VanBraunt.

VanBraunt had her husband drop off their daughter at SUNY Geneseo for the school year with faith her sophomore year will be safe, but she is also thinking about the realities of life. One of those realities is the growing problem of heroin overdoses.

“It’s just a sign of the times that people are overdosing on a daily basis. It’s scary, it’s very scary that it’s happening on our college campuses across the state,” said VanBraunt.

Now, parents like VanBraunt may be able to worry a little less. The state attorney general announced on Wednesday that Naloxone will be available to all police officers on the 12 SUNY campuses, including Geneseo. The 13 full-time officers who patrol the campus will now carry the highly effective antidote that reverses the effect of a heroin overdose.

“We have trained all of our officers in the use of Naloxone,” said Interim Chief Thomas Kilcullen, SUNY Geneseo.

Chief Kilcullen says like most SUNY campuses, Geneseo is open to the public, and police can’t always control who comes and goes, or what happens on campus.

“We saw it as an opportunity to be responsible, be proactive and to be prepared should we have an incident of a heroin overdose. Our officers will now be equipped to respond,” said Interim Chief Thomas Kilcullen, SUNY Geneseo.

It’s scary to think that we have to go to these extreme measures, but it’s very helpful, clearly, to save somebody’s life,” said Maria Premo, a sophomore at Geneseo.

“I know on a lot of bigger campuses it’s a much bigger issue, but there was an incident here that definitely prompted some of the changes we’re seeing now,” said Clara Bates, a sophomore at Geneseo.

There was a death of a SUNY Geneseo student last spring. However, the Geneseo Police Department, which is handling the case, has not yet ruled on his cause of death.

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