Twelve SUNY campuses across New York State have received funding to equip campus police with the life-saving heroin antidote Naloxone also known as Narcan. The initiative aims to combat the epidemic of heroin overdose nationwide.
University at Buffalo Police Chief Gerald Schoenle says UB is among the SUNY schools that have received funding for the Narcan kits. The others include Purchase, Potsdam, Cortland, Oswego, Albany, Geneseo, Adirondack, Canton, Utica/Rome, Farmingdale, and New Paltz.
“Heroin overdose have become a big problem throughout the state and throughout the country in the last year or two. It’s very concerning. It’s become so popular. The purity level is much different. It’s much higher, so it’s much more dangerous. With the number of people using it statewide it’s very likely that we could have a problem at our university,” said Schoenle.
NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s Community Overdose Prevention Program provided the schools with $27,000 to purchase 258 kits for $60 each. The Narcan kits consist of a pouch containing two syringes of the antidote, two atomizers for nasal administration and sterile gloves.
The push for the kits sharpened when two students from SUNY Oswego died earlier this year from heroin overdoses. Two others suffered near-fatal overdoses off-campus. Schoenle says heroin overdose hasn’t been an issue at UB, but he says officers have been trained with help from the Erie County Health Department.
“We have 60 officers and so far 30 of them have been trained and as new officers get trained they’re equipped with it also. So, we’ll always have people working that have been trained and within the next month or two we should have the whole department trained,” said Schoenle.
Just this year first responders in Buffalo started carrying the life-saving antidote. Shortly after its rollout the drug was used to save the life of a man found overdosing on heroin.