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Officers Train With Heroin Antidote
CORNING (WENY) -- A drug that's been around for years is being made more readily available to first responders, to help save lives.
It's called naloxone and it reverses overdoses from heroin and opioids, allowing a person to regain consciousness and start breathing normally again.
"A year ago, we wouldn't have the ability to do this," said Michael Wood, Deputy Commissioner, NY Division of Criminal Justice. "It's about saving lives."
Back in June, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed some bills to combat heroin usage. Now, his laws are being put to use.
The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, Department of Health, and Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, Albany Medical Center, the national Harm Reduction Coalition joined together to train police officers from the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes in the use of naloxone
Officers were trained on: spotting an overdose, how to assemble and use naloxone kits and now have the ability to train officers from their agency.
"Often times police are first on scene to respond to these overdoses," said Wood. "And it gives them the opportunity to save a life and potentially give people another chance and to influence people to change their lives in a positive way. That's what this is all about."
Each officer at today's training got supplies of naloxone for free. Since the statewide trainings have begun, officers across New York have saved lives.
New York State Police Major, Scott Crosier said this training is particularly important in rural areas because police agencies are sometimes first to arrive to EMS CAlls.
"A lot of times it's not even identified by the caller what the nature of the call is they may just be going for an unresponsive person," said Major Crosier. "We've even had it in situations where it's a traffic accident as a result of a heroin overdose. So, having the tools, having the training being able to identify what it is that's going on, we can make a difference."
The state has trained close to 1,000 across New York and has more trainings scheduled for August.