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18 LI police departments approved for Narcan heroin antidote, says state AG

Northport Police Chief Eric Bruckenthal holds an Overdose

Northport Police Chief Eric Bruckenthal holds an Overdose Prevention Rescue Kit outside of the department in Northport on June 17, 2014. Credit: Ed Betz

Eighteen Long Island police departments have been approved to receive supplies of a heroin antidote under a 2-month-old state program, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman will announce Wednesday.

The tally is more than double the eight Long Island agencies that requested nearly 200 kits of the antidote Narcan and training when Schneiderman's Community Overdose Program, or COP, started in April.

The police departments include Garden City and Great Neck Estates in Nassau County and Southampton Town and Southold in Suffolk County, the attorney general's office said.

"We are making this lifesaving overdose antidote available in every town, village and hamlet on Long Island," said Schneiderman's news release for Wednesday.

The program has approved 117 departments, including the NYPD, for $1.72 million in reimbursements to buy about 26,000 kits of Narcan, generically known as naloxone, and training.

Schneiderman will announce the figures at a Long Island Association breakfast in Melville.

Long Island's approvals rank second behind the Mid-Hudson Valley, where 35 departments were approved to receive more than $104,700 for more than 1,400 kits.

On Long Island the state program has approved $222,788 to buy 2,452 kits -- the most antidote reimbursements outside of the NYPD, which was approved for $1.2 million for 20,300 kits.

More than 200 agencies statewide applied, including 26 on Long Island.

Northport police, one of the 10 approved departments in Suffolk, have carried the drug since April, said Chief Eric "Ric" Bruckenthal. "If you are on heroin, it's going to ruin your high and bring you back," he said.

He said a Northport officer suggested the training about the time Schneiderman's office announced the program, which set aside $5 million from seized drug investigations.

Suffolk's police department was the state's first to take part in a 2012 trial program to equip officers with the drug. Nassau police officers also have been using Narcan. The departments credit the drug for saving many lives, including 199 people in Suffolk.

All Nassau officers will be trained to administer Narcan by July 1, acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said in an email. The agency also has offered training to village police departments.

Some EMTs in Nassau and Suffolk already administer the antidote.

The antidote, administered as a nasal spray, knocks out opiate molecules from the brainstem's nerve receptors. It has no major side effects and is inert when narcotics are in the body.

Heroin killed 121 people in Nassau and Suffolk counties in 2012 and at least 120 people last year -- the two highest totals ever recorded, county figures show.

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