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Fifty Buffalo police officers throughout the city’s five districts are now carrying Narcan, an antidote for opiate overdoses, Mayor Byron W. Brown and Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda announced Friday.

The officers are among the first wave of the department’s more than 700 officers who will be trained to administer the nasal antidote to stop a fatal overdose of heroin or prescription pain killers.

Narcan has been used for years by emergency room doctors to forestall the effects of an opiate overdose and allow time, up to 90 minutes, to provide lifesaving treatment.

“There’s another side to public safety and there’s another side to law enforcement and that’s the potential to save lives,” Brown said. “Those who overdose are somebody’s child and somebody’s family member. Minutes make a difference. If we can save one life, this program is worth it.”

Derenda said, “Narcan is just one resource we’re deploying to make our community safe from drugs.”

Opiate addiction has reached epidemic proportions here and throughout the country, prompting more and more communities to train first responders in administering Narcan.