City police officers will soon be equipped with a life saving heroin antidote as part of a plan to reduce the number of overdoses across the five boroughs.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says the state will provide more than $1.1 million to equip police officers with an overdose antidote.
More than 19,000 officers will be trained on how to use the kits.
The drug will be distributed in high-risk areas first. It comes in nasal spray form, which officials say make it safer and easier to use than the injectable form.
"The big breakthrough was when they developed the nasal spray so it's now safe to administer, you don't have to worry about get it. It's not safe in the field to worry about trying to do an intravenous injection, and that was a limiting factor. It is not, we're giving this out all over the state of New York, this is something that will save lives," Schneiderman said.
"One of the ways that we'll roll out will be those areas of the city that have been experiencing, like Staten Island, more significant heroin overdose issues. That's where we'll effectively seek to put these first as we roll it out over. Just imagine 20,000 officers even with the 45 minute training experience, it's still going to take us a while to go citywide with it," said Police Commissioner William Bratton.
The program is being funded by money seized in drug busts.
Officers in nearby Suffolk County have been participating in a pilot program with the kits since 2012.
They say they have prevented nearly 200 overdose deaths in that time.