It’s been nearly four months since critically acclaimed actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died following a heroin overdose. It seems as if Hoffman’s death was the sounding call for a much larger and widespread heroin abuse problem that is only now becoming apparent. Just last week the Times brought the growing problem into sharp focus.
Today, the Times is reporting that the NYPD will officially address the problem outside the usual crackdown on heroin users and dealers. Officers will soon carry heroin overdose antidotes on their person.
At a press conference today, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman (the same guy who got the airbnb user information last week) are working together to purchase roughly 20,000 kits with the anti-overdose drug naloxone, which curbs the effects of heroin overdoses by blocking opiate molecules.
The NYPD has been running a highly successful trial with the drug on Staten Island since 2012, saving 184 lives in the process. Now, using funds from the state attorney’s office, the program will hit the streets of the rest of the city (following a bit of training on how to use the $60 kits, of course).
Prevention-versus-cure arguments aside, this move is expected to have a significant effect on the heroin epidemic. Use of the kits is expected to go into full effect within the year.
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