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Hahn's Measure to Expand Anti-Overdose Program Passes County Legislature

A new bill will set up a pilot program that will equip police cars in some precincts with Narcan, which can help reduce the risk of death in cases of opiate overdose.

The Suffolk County Legislature has adopted a measure that will equip Suffolk County police officers in some precincts with an anti-overdose medication that has been shown to help victims of opiate drug overdoses.

Suffolk Legis. Kara Hahn, D-Setauket, introduced the bill in response to an epidemic of opiate deaths over the past several years: Between 2004 and 2011, opiate deaths in Suffolk County increased by more than 70 percent, she said in a statement. Oftentimes, she said, police officers are the first responders to calls involving overdoses. Previously, a program to provide the drug to emergency medical technicians was set to begin this year; this measure expands the program to include the police.

“Time is critical in all medical emergencies, but can truly mean the difference between life and death in cases involving drug overdoses,” Hahn said in a statement.  “By allowing for the administration of life saving treatments more quickly than is currently the case, this bill will hopefully improve the outcomes of opioid overdoses here in Suffolk County.”

The bill awaits signing by Suffolk County Exec. Steve Bellone.

The measure calls for a two-year pilot program in which officers in select communities will be equipped with doses of the drug naloxone hydrochloride, commonly known as Narcan. Officers will first be trained on how to recognize the signs of an opiate overdose and how to administer the dose. Individual doses are expected to cost less than $3 per dose.

Following the pilot program, the county's Department of Health Services and the Police Department will analyze data to measure its effectiveness, and will ultimately make a recommendation on the future of the program in Suffolk County.

“While the ultimate goal is to have these addicts seek treatment, the reality is that for too many death comes before sobriety," Hahn said. "It is my hope that this bill will allow someone’s child the time and a second chance to get clean.”

The philosophy of the measure is in line with Bellone's previous anti-drug initiatives. In March, he and Health Services Commissioner James Tomarken provided a document called “Preventing Misuse of Prescription Opioid Drugs” to nearly 9,000 health professionals in Suffolk County capable of prescribing medications.

Matthew Lott May 02, 2012 at 07:29 AM
Who would be legally liable, if this "anti drug" stuff isn't administered properly ? What happens when a fatality or coma, results from a Suffolk County Police Officer administering this "anti drug" stuff, incorrectly ? It's bad enough that this program continues The Left's political agenda of encouraging recreational and illegal Drug use, but thrusting unnecessary responsibility on Police Officers is Foolish. It just doesn't help Anyone. It's just one step removed from handing these kits over to Drug Users themselves !
Johny Q May 02, 2012 at 01:13 PM
It is not in a Police Officers job description to administer anything. They are not paramedics and are not qualified. This is the job of paramedics, EMS etc. They are usually at the scene of aided cases before the police anyway. This is nothing new, EMS have injected this drug into junkies way back into the 70's and 80's. Looks like Ms. Hahn is just looking to get her name out there in the press.
Matthew Lott May 02, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Putting police officers "on the hook" with this additional job of now, saving Drug Addicts is ok for Hahn because she doesn't have anything to do, but sit in an office and come up with Crazy, unnecessary duties for police officers. Where are the police unions on this Crazy Idea ?
Matthew Lott May 02, 2012 at 02:32 PM
For all intents and purposes, police are abetting illegal behavior. This is legalizing Drugs and illegal drug use, by stealth. This is part of the "Liberal" and Democrat Party "playbook".
Matthew Lott May 02, 2012 at 03:49 PM
“Time is critical in all medical emergencies, but can truly mean the difference between life and death in cases involving drug overdoses,” Hahn said in a statement. “By allowing for the administration of life saving treatments more quickly than is currently the case, this bill will hopefully improve the outcomes of opioid overdoses here in Suffolk County.” Johny Q she obviously doesn't know One Thing about law enforcement ! But a lot about pandering to Voters whose kids are using Drugs !
Cynthia Lindner, MS May 05, 2012 at 03:26 PM
The intention of this bill is not only to extend the lives of people addicted to or abusing narcotics, it will also save the lives of some suicidal people with clinical depression, and also people with chronic pain conditions who have unintentionally over medicated.
Matthew Lott May 06, 2012 at 11:54 AM
IF, usually, experienced EMT workers are the first on the scene, and we know that they are qualified and insured, to administer these narcotics, "why" would the County authorize county employees, to do this kind of work, if they are not qualified to do it ? The politics aside, this is is the issue. Will the police officers and their union, or the County, have to pay the same malpractice insurance that other EMT workers have to be covered with to do this kind of work ? Or do the Tax Payers have to "clean up the mess" ? I feel the latter. While it may be "good politics" to get the Drug Addict Vote, this is just not wise, or at lease "thought out", public policy.

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