ST. GEORGE — All police officers and EMT workers on Staten Island will now be required to carry an anti-overdose medication, in a bid to help curb the number of ODs in the borough.
DA Dan Donovan, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano announced that all first-responders on Staten Island will be equipped with naloxone, which essentially reverses the effects of heroin and prescription opioid overdoses.
"Addiction to heroin and other opiates has led to numerous overdose deaths which have devastated the lives of many Staten Island families," Bratton said.
The drug, which Donovan said has no known harmful side effects, was given to officers in the 120th Precinct as part of a pilot program earlier this year, and was already administered to three overdose patients.
The program will be expanded to the other precincts in the borough after the NYPD secured $50,000 in federal funds, Donovan said. In March, the FDNY will start to train EMT and firefighters assigned to first-response units on how to use the aerosolized naloxone.
In 2012, 36 Staten Islanders died of a heroin overdose and 37 from a painkiller overdose, Donovan said. So far, preliminary data shows that Staten Island had 37 drug-related overdose deaths in 2013.
"It is my hope that once an overdose patient has been given a second chance thanks to the life-saving efforts of a police officer, a paramedic, an EMT or a firefighter, that person will seek treatment for their addiction," Donovan said.