A drug antidote kit containing Narcan is pictured at the...

A drug antidote kit containing Narcan is pictured at the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependance in Mineola. (Aug. 1, 2012) Credit: Newsday / Chris Ware

Drug users saved by an intranasal overdose antidote administered by Suffolk police will now be referred to treatment centers, under a bill passed unanimously Tuesday night by county lawmakers.

The naloxone hydrochloride spray, commonly known as Narcan, has saved at least 52 lives in Suffolk and dozens more in Nassau since its introduction last year, authorities said.

The new law requires the Suffolk health department to refer those saved by Narcan to area addiction-treatment facilities.

A related bill allowing Narcan to be administered by certain civilians, such as parents of addicts and drug-treatment workers, also passed the legislature unanimously Tuesday. Certain civilians in Nassau are already permitted to administer Narcan after receiving training.

The drug works by knocking opiate molecules from the brainstem's nerve receptors.

An epidemic of prescription opioid and heroin overdoses in New York prompted state officials in 2006 to allow nonmedical personnel to administer the drug. Other states have enacted similar laws.

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