North Country Sen. Griffo says local police should seek grants to help heroin overdosers
Monday, June 16, 2014 - 8:58 am

Sen. Joseph Griffo wants local police departments to apply for grants to aid in "the fight against heroin."

In a press release, Griffo, who represents part of St. Lawrence County including Massena, Potsdam, Brasher and Norfolk, said grant money could help police purchase equipment and training that could help people who overdose on heroin.

Griffo had asked the Office of the Attorney General to extend its deadline for the Community Overdose Prevention (COP) program so that more local departments could apply for funds. The office announced Friday that the new deadline would be Sept. 1, due to popular demand.

“First responders have saved thousands of lives nationwide by administering naloxone to drug users in the midst of opioid overdose,” said Griffo. “In rural areas like ours, police officers are oftentimes the ones who arrive at a distress call first. It’s imperative they have the tools and expertise to temporarily reverse the most harmful effects of overdose before medical help arrives. I thank the attorney general for recognizing how vital this outreach is and making sure all departments had ample opportunity to apply for funds.”

“As we continue to crack down on the heroin abuse epidemic in our state, my office’s Community Overdose Prevention program is designed to equip law enforcement with a powerful tool to help save lives,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “I thank Senator Griffo for his leadership in encouraging local law enforcement agencies to sign on to this program. It should be our collective goal to help local law enforcement save lives and keep our communities safe.”

Griffo says COP will reimburse agencies for the cost of providing one full naloxone kit to each officer as well as the cost of training officers in the proper use of the medicine. Each kit consists of two vials of naloxone, two mucosal atomization devices for nasal administration, one pair of latex gloves and a booklet on the use of the drug. A full kit costs about $60 and is good for two years, if kept at room temperature.

The program is funded with $5 million that was forfeited by criminals, mainly during drug busts.

Naloxone is a prescription medicine, Griffo said in his release. It cannot be used to get high and it is not addictive. Griffo said it’s been widely used in hospitals since receiving FDA approval in 1971.