Heroin antidote Narcan made available statewide

An antidote to prevent opioid drug overdose deaths will soon be made available to every law enforcement agency in the state, funded by money seized from drug dealers. The Community Overdose Prevention program, or COP, will allow every state and local law enforcement officer to carry and administer naloxone, which is also known by its brand name, Narcan. (Credit: News 12 Long Island)

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In 2012, Teri Kroll and her husband Frank saved the life of a man with the name "Erik" tattooed on his neck who was overdosing on heroin at a Farmingdale traffic light.

It was not the first time the Lindenhurst couple said they had seen the effects of drug abuse. Three years before, their son Timothy, just 23, died after injecting a deadly dose of heroin.

At the traffic light, Teri Kroll said she used an antidote on the man to reverse the effects of the heroin.

Thursday, she joined state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and several Suffolk and Nassau law enforcement officials at a news conference to announce plans to supply law enforcement agencies with the same fast-acting antidote, known by its brand name Narcan.

"I'm so happy that every police car is going to have Narcan in it," said Kroll, who sought training about how to administer it after her son's death.

The state-funded Community Overdose Prevention program, or COP, seeks to equip police officers with the antidote kit -- and the training -- to safely administer Narcan, generically known as naloxone.

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Schneiderman, whose office is spearheading the effort, said the COP program will provide funding -- $5 million seized from drug investigations -- to supply police officers with kits of Narcan.

Each kit costs about $60, Schneiderman said.

"It brings the victim back from the brink of death and buys more time to get to a hospital," Schneiderman said of the nasal spray during the news conference at the Suffolk County Training Academy in Brentwood.

It's a "powerful public health tool" to combat a statewide heroin epidemic, Schneiderman said.

Heroin overdoses took the lives of a record 121 people in Nassau and Suffolk in 2012. Another 120 people overdosed last year, officials said.

Suffolk police said they were the first department statewide to take part in a trial program in 2012 that equipped officers with the antidote.

Suffolk officers have used it to save the lives of 184 overdose victims, department officials said. Officer Matthew Siesto revived the same woman twice, police said.

The COP program has already supplied Suffolk County EMTs with the antidote. Narcan administered by Suffolk first responders saved 563 lives last year, according to Schneiderman's office.

The year before, Kroll's training was key to saving the life of the man at the traffic light. The Krolls, grieving their son's death, were on their way to counseling when they saw the man barely conscious in his car. A bystander broke the window. Frank Kroll unlocked the door and put the car in park.

Teri Kroll recognized the symptoms of a heroin overdose, including shallow breathing. She tried to rouse the man. That didn't work, so she pulled Narcan from her purse and administered it nasally.

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"I couldn't believe how quickly that young man woke up."

With Tania Lopez

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