In the ongoing battle against heroin addiction, legislators are now making a lifesaving tool more easily available.
"Sadly, it's really an indictment on how bad the crisis truly is," said Assemblyman John McDonald. "Let's not kid ourselves, Naloxone is really the last step."
Though it's a far cry from a cure-all, Naloxone, also known as Narcan, can temporarily block the effects of opiates. Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the antidote will be available at independent pharmacies across the state without a prescription.
Although it's typically administered by EMS responders or hospital staff, officials say Naloxone can be given by people with minimal training. According to the governor's initiative, pharmacists will be able to provide that training when dispensing to their customers.
"You'll walk out of there and you'll be able to use this, and it will make a difference in someone's life," said Albany County Executive Dan McCoy.
The executive initiative comes just one day after McCoy's State of the County Address, in which he called on the State Department of Health to begin providing Narcan over the counter.
"We really need this. We needed this a long time ago," McCoy explained. "This is just another tool in the arsenal that we can use to help addicts, help their families, and their loved ones."
"I hope once again it's a message to society, this is how bad society has gotten. It's not proactive, it's reactive, but it is what it is," added McDonald.