New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman demonstrates an inhaler of naloxone, a drug to be included in an overdose-prevention rescue kit, during a news conference in New York City on May 27, 2014
Richard Drew—AP
May 28, 2014 5:24 AM EDT

Thousands of New York police officers will be trained and equipped to handle heroin overdoses in response to a massive increase in incidents in recent years, city officials announced Tuesday.

The police are to be armed with naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of an overdose, and given training on how it should be administered, Agence France-Presse reports.

“This program will literally save lives,” said New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, pointing out that naloxone had been “stunningly effective.”

The Community Overdose Prevention Program, a drive launched last month, is funding the initiative.

New York City authorities have said that heroin overdoses surged 84% between 2010 and 2012, calling current levels an “epidemic.”


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