MTA police who patrol the commuter and Staten Island rails will soon be equipped with an antidote to heroin overdose, the attorney general is expected to announce at Penn Station on Tuesday.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's Community Overdose Prevention program will provide $40,000 to give every officer on the MTA Police Department force a naloxone kit. Naloxone can save the life of someone who overdosed on heroin or other opioids.
"By providing every MTA police officer with Naloxone kits, we are making this stunningly effective overdose antidote available on a major artery into New York City's suburbs," Schneiderman said in a statement.
The MTA police serve Metro-North, Long Island Rail Road and the Staten Island Rail Road. Long Island and Staten Island in particular have for years been gripped by a prescription pain pill epidemic and their drug problems have grown to include heroin abuse.
Under the attorney general's COP program, funded by criminal and civil forfeiture money, MTA police will receive 670 naloxone kits. Each kit, which costs $60 and is good for two years, comes with a zip bag filled with two prefilled syringes of naloxone, two nasal sprays, gloves and a booklet on administering the drug. Naloxone reverses respiratory depression that occurs when someone overdoses on an opioid.
"This program will literally save lives, which is why I am pleased that one of the largest police departments in the state has agreed to participate in this critical program," Schneiderman said in a statement.
Last month, the NYPD and FDNY announced $50,000 in federal funding to equip police officers, firefighters and EMTs around Staten Island with naloxone, which paramedics administered more than 2,800 times throughout the city. In Suffolk County, naloxone saved 563 lives last year, according to the attorney general's office.
"MTA Police officers are trained to handle emergencies from the busiest railroad stations to the farthest-flung tracks, and giving them the tools to handle a heroin overdose immediately is simply the right thing to do," MTA Police Chief Michael Coan said in a statement