GPD: Call for help if you've ODed on heroin

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

Dr. Donald Doynow, medical director for Guilderland Emergency Services, demonstrates, at a press conference on Tuesday, how to administer a dose of naloxone with an atomizer. Looking on are Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy and, behind him, Guilderland Police Chief Carol Lawlor.

GUILDERLAND — The local police department is one of the first in New York State to have heroin antidote kits for every officer to carry.

Guilderland Chief of Police Carol Lawlor told The Enterprise the department was quick to apply for the program because of the increased number of opiate overdoses and related deaths.

According to the Albany County Department of Mental Health, in the year 2000, five percent of admissions into drug treatment in the county were heroin-related. In 2012, that number had increased to 23 percent, and, in 2013, it rose again to 27 percent.

In the past year, said Lawlor, there were 17 heroin overdoses in Guilderland, and five of them were fatal.

“With an overdose, the object is not to make an arrest; it’s to save a life,” said Lawlor. “We don’t make an arrest unless there is a felony drug sale involved.”

She said the department did not want to discourage people from calling for help, in the event of an overdose, because they fear an arrest.

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman started the Community Overdose Prevention Program to provide 39 law-enforcement agencies with the funds to equip officers with naloxone and train them how to use it.

The program was launched five weeks ago and more than 95 agencies have applied. The attorney general made the announcement on Tuesday morning at Guilderland Town Hall.

The Guilderland Police Department is the first to officially receive full reimbursement, in the amount of $2,100, for enough naloxone kits for each of its 35 officers.

The funds for the program come from criminal and civil forfeiture money.

The antidote kits include two pre-filled syringes of naloxone — also known by the brand name Narcan — as well as two atomizers for nasal administration, sterile gloves, and an instruction booklet.

The naloxone, according a release from Schneiderman’s office, “is stunningly effective at stopping an overdose in its tracks.”

Lawlor said the Guilderland officers had already received training with the kits and would be carrying the kits with them in the immediate future.

“We want to get it out there,” she said. “The faster, the better.”

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