Division of Criminal Justice Services

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Janine Kava or Walt McClure, Press Office
NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services
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For immediate release: Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014

New York State trains Mohawk Valley law enforcement officers to use medication that reverses overdoses from heroin, other opioids, teach colleagues to administer drug

Nearly 90 officers from agencies in seven counties, including Herkimer, Madison and Oneida, receive training, medication for free

The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) today joined with two other state agencies to train law enforcement officers from departments in seven counties – including Herkimer, Madison and Oneida – 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.

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 trainings, which are part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s comprehensive, statewide effort to combat the rise of heroin use. More information about those initiatives: http://www.governor.ny.gov/press_archive/

DCJS coordinates two types of trainings for law enforcement officers: hour-long classes that teach officers how to use naloxone and provide them with the medication for free and two-hour “train-the-trainer” classes that teach training officers the curriculum so they can train officers within their agencies, multiplying the reach of the state-sponsored classes.

Training officers also learn how to administer the drug and receive it for free. In addition, DCJS helps agencies that send officers to the train-the-trainer sessions to obtain the naloxone at no cost once additional officers in those agencies are trained. The Mohawk Valley Police Academy at Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica today hosted one train-the-trainer class and two trainings for officers. A total of 89 law enforcement professionals from the following agencies were scheduled to attend: police departments from Camden, Canastota, Herkimer, Mohawk, Rome, SUNY-Canton, SUNY- Oswego, Troy, Morrisville State College, the Oneida Indian Nation, Utica and Watertown.

Also attending were New York State troopers and officers and trainers from Mohawk Valley Community College’s Department of Public Safety; the New York State Preparedness Training Center; and the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office. At the conclusion of today’s trainings, New York State will have trained about 1,200 law enforcement officers – including 330 training officers – from approximately 200 agencies in 52 counties and New York City.

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.”

DCJS will offer the training in Chautauqua County later this month. The agency will schedule additional trainings as the need arises to provide the classes and medication, known commercially as Narcan, to as many agencies and officers as possible. Trainings began in April and also have been held in Albany, Clinton, Delaware, Dutchess, Erie, Genesee, Monroe, Onondaga, Orange, Steuben, Ulster and Westchester counties.

In addition to teaching officers how to use naloxone, the training provides 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; details signs and symptoms of opioid overdose; gives officers sample policies for their agencies that deal with the use and storage of naloxone; and features interviews with officers who have used naloxone to reverse an opioid overdose.

Acting State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, M.D., J.D. said, “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.”

Added OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez, “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.”

New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico said, “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.”

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.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, someone dies every 19 minutes from a drug overdose, and nearly three out of four prescription drug overdoses are caused by prescription painkillers. When prescription medication is no longer available, individuals often turn to illicit drugs, such as heroin. 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.

“The Harm Reduction Coalition strongly supports Governor Cuomo’s actions to give law enforcement officers the trainings and tools to prevent overdose deaths, in line with calls from the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy and the U.S. Attorney General to expand naloxone training,” said Sharon Stancliff, M.D., medical director for the Harm Reduction Coalition who taught the classes in Utica. “Our work with community-based programs, drug treatment providers and law enforcement has shown the power of naloxone in reversing New York's opioid overdose epidemic, and we are eager to share our knowledge and experience with police officers through this partnership.”

Michael Dailey, M.D., director of pre-hospital care at Albany Medical Center, said, “We have already seen hundreds of lives impacted by expanding the use of naloxone to basic life support EMS providers in New York State. This partnership between DOH and DCJS, under the leadership of the Governor’s Office, is key to treating these acute overdoses and giving patients another chance to recover their 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.