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Naloxone, commonly known as Narcan, is a nasal spray used to reverse the effects of opiate overdoses. / WUSA-TV

About 20,000 New York police officers will soon carry an emergency antidote to reverse the effects of heroin overdoses, NYPD officials announced Tuesday. Police officers across Staten Island, N.Y., use the nasal spray.

"We can't arrest our way out of a drug problem. Naloxone gives individuals a second chance to get help," Police Commissioner William Bratton said.

The state's Office of the Attorney General will provide $1.2 million for the initiative to supply nearly 20,000 kits. Each kit costs about $60 and lasts about two years, according to The New York Times.

"This past weekend, #naloxone saved 2 lives in $StatenIsland. Now all @NYPDnews cops- often 1st on the scene of OD- will have that ability," New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman tweeted.

As heroin overdoses rise across the USA, more police departments are looking closely at equipping their officers with naloxone instead of waiting for paramedics to arrive at the scene.

Naloxone binds to the opioid receptors in the brain, displacing other drugs and reversing the effects of an overdose. It can be administered by injection into a muscle or as a nasal spray and lasts 30 to 90 minutes, Alexander Walley, an addiction medicine specialist at the Boston University School of Medicine, told USA TODAY this year.

Follow @jessicadurando on Twitter



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: NYPD officers to carry heroin antidote

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