By Jim Melwert

MEDIA, Pa. (CBS) — A new law goes into effect this weekend that will allow police officers in Pennsylvania to carry a drug that can quickly reverse the effects of a heroin overdose.

And Delaware County officials announced at a press conference today that law enforcement officers across the county will be among the first in the state to carry the potentially lifesaving drug kit.

The drug is called naloxone (marketed under the trade name “Narcan”), and Delaware County district attorney Jack Whelan says they want every officer in the county to be ready.

(Photo by Jim Melwert)

(Photo by Jim Melwert)


“We have 400 patrol vehicles,” Whelan said today.  “Each will have one of these kits in their glove compartment.”

Training for officers is online, under the state’s Department of Drugs and Alcohol.

And the drug is sorely needed, says Delco councilwoman Colleen Morrone, as the number of heroin and opiate overdose deaths in Delaware County is staggering.

“From 2007 until today, we have lost 325 people to heroin,” she said, more than gun violence or car accidents.

The new law, which goes into effect Saturday, changes the rule under which police officers were not allowed to administer prescription drugs and allows first-responders to carry and administer naloxone.