New York State sponsors training for nearly 140 officers from agencies in New York City and Westchester, Orange counties in use of intranasal naloxone
Officers receive free supplies of the drug, which can save lives by reversing the effect of overdoses from heroin, other opioids
Three state agencies are partnering to train police officers from agencies in the lower Hudson Valley and New York City in the use of naloxone, a medication that can save lives by reversing the effect of overdoses caused by heroin or other opioids, which include prescription drugs such as hydrocodone and oxycodone. The state also is providing agencies that send their officers to the trainings with supplies of naloxone at no cost.
The Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), the Department of Health (DOH) and Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) collaborated with Albany Medical Center, the national Harm Reduction Coalition and other partners to develop the training. Six trainings – four, one-hour trainings for officers and two, two-hour train-the-trainer sessions – are being held at the Westchester County Department of Public Safety Police Academy today and tomorrow.
Nearly 140 officers from 34 agencies in New York City and Orange and Westchester counties have registered to attend the trainings. DCJS will have trained nearly 500 officers once these trainings are complete and the agency has scheduled trainings in seven other counties across the state during June and July to provide the training and medication, known commercially as Narcan, to as many agencies and officers as possible.
DCJS Executive Deputy Commissioner Michael C. Green said, “As a former District Attorney, I have seen first-hand the devastating and far-reaching effects of opioid abuse. Key to DCJS’ mission is providing training and support to local law enforcement. This training will help local law enforcement agencies deal with this public health and public safety crisis in a smart and effective way.”
Added Acting State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, M.D., J.D., “Fatal and non-fatal overdoses from opioids play an increasing role in the mortality and morbidity of New Yorkers, and I commend Governor Cuomo for his leadership to ensure local law enforcement receives the necessary training to administer intranasal naloxone. The Governor’s efforts expand on the department’s Opioid Overdose Program and EMS Naloxone Program, which combined have resulted in more than 1,000 successful overdose reversals.”
In addition to the State Police, officers from the following agencies in Westchester and Orange counties are registered to attend: police departments in Bedford, Bronxville, Croton-on-Hudson, Dobbs Ferry, Eastchester, Goshen, Harrison, Larchmont, Lewisboro, Mamaroneck, Marlborough, Mount Pleasant, Mount Vernon, New Castle, New Rochelle, North Salem, Ossining, Peekskill, Pelham, Rye, Scarsdale, Sleepy Hollow, Somers, State University of New York-Purchase, Tuckahoe, White Plains and Yorktown.
Officers from the City University of New York, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York City Human Resources Administration Police, New York State Park Police, Westchester County Department of Public Safety and Westchester County Probation Department also are registered to attend.
Naloxone is a medication that is administered by nasal spray to an individual who has overdosed on opioids. It works by temporarily reversing the effects of the opioid, whether illicit or prescription, allowing the individual to regain consciousness and resume normal breathing.
In addition to teaching officers how to use naloxone, the training will provide an overview of the state’s Good Samaritan Law, which is intended to encourage individuals to seek medical attention for someone who is experiencing a drug or alcohol overdose or other life-threatening injury, who otherwise may have refused to do so for fear of criminal prosecution; detail signs and symptoms of opioid overdose; provide officers with sample policies for their agencies dealing with the use and storage of naloxone; and feature interviews with officers who have used naloxone to reverse an opioid overdose.
New York State, with assistance from the Harm Reduction Coalition, is providing free naloxone kits to law enforcement agencies that send their officers to the trainings. Officers who attend the trainings also will receive prescriptions to carry the medication from Sharon Stancliff, M.D., medical director of the Harm Reduction Coalition, and Westchester County Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, M.D. Agency training officers attending the trainings will receive the curriculum materials so they can provide the training to officers within their agencies.
OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said, “Opioid related overdoses are a serious public health concern and training police officers to administer Narcan will help save lives. The Narcan Overdose Prevention Initiative is one of the most successful programs OASAS has administered along with DOH, the Harm Reduction Coalition and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. In support of this important initiative, the 12 OASAS operated Addiction Treatment Centers have become training sites and we have trained over 2,500 patients, staff, family and community members. Saving a person from an opiate overdose gives OASAS and our providers the opportunity to address their addiction or misuse and put them on a path of recovery.”
Added New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico, “The State Police continually train and equip our members to stay on top of dangerous trends or threats that may affect New Yorkers. Our Troopers see first-hand the devastating effects of heroin and other opiates on individuals, families and communities. I thank DCJS, DOH and OASAS for partnering to offer this training that will save lives.”
The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (www.criminaljustice.ny.gov) is a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including law enforcement training; collection and analysis of statewide crime data; maintenance of criminal history information and fingerprint files; administrative oversight of the state’s DNA databank, in partnership with the New York State Police; funding and oversight of probation and community correction programs; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the state’s Sex Offender Registry.