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Post date: February 11 2015

A.G. Schneiderman Announces More Than 100 Lives Saved By Community Overdose Prevention (COP) Program

COP Program Has Approved Nearly $2 Million Of Forfeiture Funds To Equip New York Law Enforcement Agencies With Life-Saving Heroin Overdose Antidote

Schneiderman: COP Program Has Transformed Drug Money Into Life-Saving Resources

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that the Community Overdose Prevention (COP) program, which provides funding to equip state and local law-enforcement officers with naloxone, a highly effective antidote for opioid overdoses, has saved more than 100 lives in less than a year. The progress and success of the COP program is detailed in a report released today by the Attorney General’s office.

The COP program is supported by $5 million of joint federal-state criminal and civil forfeiture money. Police departments or appropriate county or city agencies submit receipts to the Attorney General’s office and are reimbursed in full. To date, the COP program has approved $1.8 million to supply law enforcement departments across the state with naloxone kits and train them in their use. More than 200 law enforcement agencies have applied to the COP program, which has disbursed more than 27,000 kits in less than a year. Since the COP program’s inception, naloxone has been used to reverse overdoses in Staten Island, Buffalo, New CastleAttica, Oneida, Onondaga CountyMadison County, Nassau County, Suffolk County, and elsewhere.

“By any measure, the COP program has been a resounding public policy success,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “We have transformed money seized from drug dealers into resources that are saving the lives of their victims. My office has adopted a comprehensive approach toward battling the heroin crisis through programs like COP, I-STOP, and our aggressive prosecution of some of the largest drug trafficking rings ever in New York. I will not rest until we have finally cut off the supply of dangerous drugs into our state and eliminated the need for antidotes like naloxone in the first place.”

“I thank Attorney General Schneiderman for his aggressive efforts in seizing drug money and transforming those assets into valuable tools that help our police officers and medics save the lives of young people who get hooked on drugs,” said Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano. “My administration is combating heroin and opioid abuse through a comprehensive strategy that includes enhanced enforcement, education and awareness. By ensuring all police officers are forever trained to administer and carry naloxone, we ensure more lives will be saved from this deadly epidemic.”

“The COP program ensures that all first responders in the State receive proper training in the use of naloxone and puts the kits in their hands as an antidote to opioids and heroin,” said New York State Senator Phil Boyle, the previous chair of the Joint Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction.“I applaud the Attorney General for the implementation and funding of this program and programs like it. These initiatives, coupled with smart legislation, will go a long way toward turning the tide on this heroin epidemic.”

“As part of the Senate’s ongoing efforts to address the heroin and opioid crisis, my colleagues and I have worked very hard to make life-saving naloxone more accessible in New York,” said New York State Senator Kemp Hannon. “I commend the Attorney General for his good work in establishing the COP program, which has equipped our state’s law enforcement agencies with this crucial tool in our ongoing battle against heroin abuse.”

Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal said, "Attorney General Eric Schneiderman should be commended for his work to battle the heroin crisis overtaking parts of New York, as well as his efforts to get lifesaving naloxone into the hands of first responders all across the State.  Substance abuse tears families apart. As the new Chair of the Assembly Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, I look forward to working closely with the Attorney General in the future to identify ways to prevent drugs from entering the state and to support individuals and families who have been touched by drug and alcohol abuse."

“On behalf of Staten Island, a community that has been hit especially hard by the heroin epidemic, I am incredibly grateful to Attorney General Schneiderman for implementing the COP program,” said New York State Assemblyman Michael Cusick. “I am confident the COP program will continue to yield life-saving results across our borough and I applaud all of our law enforcement personnel who are out there every day saving countless lives.”

“The COP program has been an effective, life-saving initiative,” said Utica Mayor Robert M. Palmieri. “I support Attorney General Schneiderman’s efforts and commend him for his proactive approach in combatting heroin overdose in our communities. On behalf of the residents of Utica, I look forward to continuing a strong partnership with Attorney General Schneiderman and his team.”

“Our police are on the front line every day in this battle with the addiction epidemic,” said Steve Salomone, Co-Founder of Drug Crisis in Our Backyard, a Hudson Valley organization dedicated to raising awareness, and providing education to families and individuals struggling with addiction. “Enabling them to administer this life-saving antidote on site has proven to have saved a great number of lives. They are often the first to respond on the scene and seconds count when someone has overdosed. We should all be grateful that our police now carry and can administer naloxone in New York.”

Today’s announcement follows the Attorney General’s successful negotiation of a cost-saving agreement with Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to cut and cap the price of naloxone for all agencies in New York State during the next year. The contract stipulates that Amphastar will offer a $6 rebate per dose, which will also automatically increase, dollar-for-dollar, to match any future growth in the wholesale price. As part of the agreement, the rebate is available not only to the Office of the Attorney General, but also all public entities, including but not limited to the State Department of Health, the City of New York, the governments of individual New York counties, and the drug treatment centers and harm reduction programs they fund.

The abuse of heroin and prescription drugs is a growing problem throughout New York and the United States. In 2013, more than half of New York City’s 782 drug-related overdoses were from heroin. The same year, there were almost 20,000 hospitalizations—mostly emergency visits—related to heroin in New York State. Nationwide, fatal overdoses from heroin doubled from 2010-2012, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration estimates that these numbers are still on the rise.

The Attorney General’s office has undertaken a comprehensive approach toward reducing heroin and prescription drug abuse in New York State. To date, investigators have broken up 20 of the largest drug and gun trafficking gangs in the state. I-STOP, the nation’s first real-time prescription tracking system for the most addictive prescription drugs, has reduced doctor shopping in New York by 75% in just the first 8 months of the program.