At a time when heroin use is escalating nationwide, SUNY Buffalo State’s University Police Department (UPD) officers are learning how to administer naloxone, a powerful antidote to the drug.
On Monday, UPD Police Chief Peter Carey and 30 officers underwent training with Colleen Babcock, parent and family support coordinator for Horizon Health Services. Babcock demonstrated how to use Narcan kits, which are filled with two pre-filled syringes of naloxone, two atomizers for nasal administration, and sterile gloves. Each officer on campus has been provided with a Narcan kit.
The training resulted from a plan New York Governor Andrew Cuomo implemented in June to provide first responders with free supplies of naloxone as part of his statewide initiative to combat the rise of heroin use. Naloxone works by temporarily reversing the effects of an opioid, whether illicit or prescription, allowing the individual to regain consciousness and resume normal breathing.
All SUNY university police departments are receiving the kits that cost $60 each and have an approximate two-year shelf life. University Police received the kits at no cost.
In April and May, two SUNY Oswego students died from heroin overdoses. In May, two other students suffered non-fatal overdoses off campus.
"Fortunately, we have not had a problem with heroin at Buffalo State," Carey said. "But having the Narcan kits on hand ensures that we are ready in case an overdose does occur."
Additionally, the UPD will distribute posters around campus this fall informing students about the Good Samaritan Law that encourages individuals to seek medical attention for someone who is experiencing a drug or alcohol overdose or other life-threatening injury without fear of criminal prosecution. Students will be instructed to call the UPD emergency line, 878-6333 (ext. 6333 from campus phones).