Access to Narcan, increased drug enforcement, and support for university students will be boosted as part of a statewide initiative to address heroin use and abuse, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday.
With reports of heroin use on the rise in recent years, the state will put measures in place to combat heroin-related deaths and prevent further use by younger generations.
"By nearly doubling the State Police’s drug enforcement units with the addition of more than 100 seasoned investigators we are going above and beyond to combat this deadly drug," Cuomo said.
Cases involving heroin will be conducted in "more long term and sophisticated" manners with undercover personnel, expanded K-9 units, and trained narcotics officers to support local police departments.
Also part of the initiative, Naloxone, or Narcan, an emergency drug administered to overdose victims to revive them and counteract heroin, will be made available for all first responder units.
On Long Island, four overdose victims were revived using Narcan within the past month. On May 22, a 29-year-old had to be revived at a Massapequa emergency medical center. Two days later, an 18-year-old man was revived in Wantagh. On Wednesday, a 26-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman were revived in Merrick with the treatment.
Support campaigns will also be launched on all SUNY campuses and will involve awareness programs during student orientation, training for RAs and support staff in addressing possible abuse, access to treatments and services, and training for university police forces. State Police will also aid campus police in enforcement. CUNY schools and other colleges will also participate in the program, Cuomo later stated.
Locals are already working in their communities to train families and victims in prevention and awareness. In Nassau County, officials offered a series of seminars to teach residents about recognizing abuse, Narcan administration, and how to attempt rescue breathing.
The last Nassau seminar is scheduled for July 17 at the Elmont Firehouse. Learn how to RSVP here.
"…they say the first step in drug treatment—when someone goes to deal with a drug issue—the first step is admitting the problem. And, not denying it," said Cuomo.
"Heroine is not a problem that law enforcement alone can solve. The troopers and the sheriffs and the DA’s can’t solve it. The teachers and the education system can’t solve it. It’s going to take all of us. And it still starts in the home and it starts with parents and it starts with friends and it starts with neighbors, and if you suspect a person has an issue, do something, do something."