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Post date: May 15 2014

A.G. Schneiderman Announces City Of Rochester, Town Of Brighton Participation In Community Overdose Prevention (COP) Program

12 Western New York Agencies Have Applied To Participate, 107 Have Applied From Across New York State

ROCHESTER – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced today that the Rochester Police Department and the Brighton Police Department have signed on to participate in the Community Overdose Prevention (COP) program launched last month. The Rochester Police Department will be launching a special pilot program, and Brighton will join other agencies in training and equipping all officers with the powerful opioid antidote naloxone.

Additionally, Attorney General Schneiderman announced that a total of twelve Western New York law enforcement agencies have applied to participate in the COP program, bringing the statewide total to 107. The 107 agencies have requested a total of 3,456 naloxone kits to prevent deaths from opioid overdoses. To date, 59 applications have been approved, along with $186,285 in funding.

“Equipping law enforcement officers in Rochester and Brighton with naloxone will save lives and help fight the scourge of opioid addiction in Western New York,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Earlier this month, our office shut down two major western New York drug trafficking rings – today, we continue our fight by giving law enforcement a powerful tool to fight overdoses.”  

To date, applications to participate in the COP Program have been received from 12 agencies in six Western New York counties. While some applications remain pending, approval has been granted for eight agencies in six Western New York counties. Awardees include:

  • Cattaraugus County
    • Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Department
  • Chautauqua County
    • Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department
    • Lakewood-Busti Police Department
  • Erie County
    • East Aurora/Town of Aurora Police Department
    • NFTA Transit Police Department
  • Genesee County
    • Genesee County Sheriff’s Department
  • Monroe County
    • Brighton Police Department
  • Wyoming County
    • Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office

Launched on April 3rd, the COP Program uses criminal and civil forfeiture money to equip and train every state and local officer in New York with naloxone, the extremely effective heroin antidote that can instantly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Each kit consists of a zip bag or pouch containing two prefilled syringes of naloxone, two atomizers for nasal administration, sterile gloves and a booklet on the use of the drug. The cost of a naloxone kit is approximately $60, and the shelf life of each kit is approximately two years.  

The success of naloxone in combatting opioid overdoses cannot be overstated. Since the fall of 2010, the police department of Quincy, Massachusetts, the first department in the nation to require its officers to carry naloxone, has used the drug 221 times and successfully reversed 211 overdoses (as of February), a success rate of over 95%. In New York’s Suffolk County, 563 lives were saved last year alone.  

Attorney General Schneiderman was joined in Rochester for the announcement by Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, Rochester Police Chief Michael Ciminelli, Brighton Supervisor Bill Moehle, Brighton Police Chief Mark Henderson, State Senator Ted O’Brien, State Senator Joseph Robach, Assemblymember Harry Bronson and Wyoming County Sheriff Gregory Rudolph.

“We are very appreciative to Attorney General Schneiderman for bringing the Community Overdose Prevention Program to Rochester,” said Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren. “In addition to our own efforts to eradicate Rochester’s drug markets, the Attorney General’s program offers the Rochester Police Department an important new tool to save lives.”

“I thank Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for making his COP program available to law enforcement agencies across the state,” said Rochester Police Chief Michael Ciminelli. “Recently, we’ve seen a rise in heroin use throughout the City, which is why we’re launching a pilot program that will equip about 30 officers with Narcan. These officers patrol a section of the City where several heroin overdoses have occurred, and we’re hopeful that by providing tools like Narcan, we’ll be able to save lives.”

“I commend Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for launching the Community Overdose Prevention (COP) program,” said Town of Brighton Supervisor William Moehle. “Here in Brighton, we work to stay ahead of the curve. That’s why we will be partnering with the Attorney General’s office to equip our police officers with naloxone kits. In other parts of the state, heroin abuse is on the rise, and naloxone is being used to save the lives of people in the midst of an acute opioid overdose. We hope our officers never come across a terrible situation like this - but if they do - we want them to be prepared.”

“The COP program will provide the Brighton Police Department with naloxone kits for our officers,” said Brighton Police Chief Mark Henderson. “I thank the Attorney General for taking a proactive approach, introducing this program which will help save lives, and for providing a funding source for departments like ours to take advantage of.”

“As a member of the Joint Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, I heard firsthand from many drug addiction professionals and family members of addicts who testified about the dangers of heroin and opioid usage,” said State Senator Joe Robach. “The success of naloxone is evident, by equipping our police officers with this antidote we can help save lives and reverse the effects of heroin or opioid overdoses. I applaud the City of Rochester and the Town of Brighton for getting out in front of this issue and participating in this lifesaving program.”

"As has been driven home time and time again, most recently during the tragic events at SUNY Oswego, the scourge of heroin and opioid painkiller addiction and abuse touches every element of society,” said State Senator Ted O’Brien. “I deeply appreciate the Attorney General's commitment to bringing naloxone training and kits to police officers in Rochester and the Finger Lakes region.  Every level of government and law enforcement needs to work together to fight this threat to public health and safety."

“I applaud Attorney General Schneiderman for his leadership on this issue,” said Assemblymember Harry Bronson. “From the untimely death of Philip Seymour Hoffman and the recent death of a SUNY Oswego student, we are losing a generation of bright talented people to heroin. It is my hope that the naloxone kits will serve as a first defense and wake-up call to our community of the unintended consequences of this deadly narcotic. I thank the Rochester Police, Brighton Police and the other local law enforcement agencies for their willingness to help end this scourge.”

Since taking office, Attorney General Schneiderman has been extremely aggressive in combatting the scourge of heroin in New York. He led the effort to rein in prescription opioid abuse by creating I-STOP – the Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing. Initial figures indicate that I-STOP has reduced doctor-shopping – the practice of going from doctor to doctor to accumulate prescriptions – by 75% in just the first year. On the criminal side, I-STOP has led to the prosecution of several doctors who willingly participate in doctor-shopping. Separately, the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force has successfully dismantled a number of heroin rings around the state. 

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