Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a first in the nation program to battle the growing heroin epidemic.

Starting on Thursday, pharmacies across New York will offer no-cost or low-cost naloxone, medicine used to reverse opioid overdoses.

"This first-in-the-nation program will help put this lifesaving treatment in more hands and is one more prong in this administration's efforts to battle heroin and opioid abuse," Cuomo said. "This is one more step toward a stronger, healthier New York for all."

According to the Governor’s Office, people with prescription health insurance coverage, including Medicaid and Medicare, will receive up to $40 in co-payment assistance, resulting in reduced cost or no cost for this lifesaving medicine. Uninsured people, or people without prescription coverage, will be able to receive naloxone at no cost through New York's network of registered opioid overdose prevention programs.

"New York's communities are hard-struck by the heroin and opioid epidemic, and we must turn the tide by preventing more overdose deaths,” Chair of the Assembly Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Linda B. Rosenthal said.

Since April of 2014, 2,036 officers have administered naloxone to over 3,100 people, saving the lives of nearly 90 percent, officials say.

"By guaranteeing affordable Naloxone to all New Yorkers, we will save thousands of lives and help repair the damage done to our communities by the opioid epidemic,” New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said.

In the 2017 State Budget, Gov. Cuomo invested over $200 million to fight the heroin and opioid epidemic.

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