Naloxone. It's the name of a potentially lifesaving drug designed to reverse opioid prescription drug and heroin overdoses.
In one case last month, a pair of New York City police officers put it to the test and saw it work.
"We used the naloxone, we injected it into his nose, shortly ... after about 20 to 30 seconds, he ... started breathing and his eyes opened," NYPD officer Kevin Kouroupos told CNN.
Heroin-related deaths increased 84% from 2010 to 2012 in New York City and involved 52% of all overdose deaths in 2012, according to the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The problem is particularly bad on Staten Island, where the death rate from overdoses is almost three times higher than the rest of New York City, according to the agency.
"I do think that every police officer should have it," Kouroupos said.
As part of a pilot program launched in December, a group of NYPD officers on Staten Island is armed with naloxone nasal spray and trained to use it at the sign of an overdose.
"The pilot was selected for Staten Island where the mortality rate from overdose is 7.4 per 100,000 compared to 2.4 per 100,000 citywide," New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said in a news release Thursday.
This marks a greater push across the nation to get naloxone in the hands of first-line responders, emergency medical technicians and other overdose witnesses. That effort has gotten a lot more attention since the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who overdosed on heroin on February 2.
As of 2010, naloxone was distributed in 15 states and the District of Columbia. Notable cities and states that use it include Baltimore and Chicago, and New Mexico, Massachusetts, Michigan, California and New York, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Naloxone distribution programs train potential overdose witnesses to correctly recognize an overdose and administer the drug, enabling bystanders to save more lives.
"You need to have somebody else there to actually give the medication," Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN chief medical correspondent, said on "Erin Burnett OutFront" on Tuesday. "The kit is a couple vial syringes, and it comes with instructions."
The Department of Health recommends administering naloxone directly to an individual overdosing after calling 911 and checking for breathing. The overdose antidote can be administered via needle or as a nasal spray.
"The goal is get these in the hands of people who might potentially benefit from them," Gupta said.
From 1996 to 2010, more than 53,000 people were trained in naloxone administration and overdose response, and more than 10,000 lives have been saved because of overdose reversals, as reported by the CDC in 2012.
Naloxone is funded by city and state health departments, which then distribute the antidote through hospitals and community-based programs at no cost, according to the CDC. Community-based programs include San Francisco's Drug Overdose Prevention and Education Project and Massachusetts' Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution.
Initiatives to expand the availability of naloxone are under way as the uptick in heroin use reverberates nationally.
Since 2012, the Food and Drug Administration has publicly discussed making naloxone for over-the-counter use in hopes of reducing overdose fatalities.
On Tuesday, a new bill was introduced in the New York State Legislature to allow health care professionals to prescribe naloxone to a person at risk of experiencing an overdose, or to a family member, friend or other overdose witness.
What is naloxone, and how does it work?
When someone takes heroin, the drug locks on to receptors in the brain, slows the body down and disrupts breathing, Gupta said.
Naloxone can rapidly free up those receptors and restore consciousness and normal breathing, essentially bringing the overdose victim back to life.
First approved by the FDA in 1971, naloxone has been used safely and effectively for more than 40 years in ambulances and emergency rooms across the country, according to the Drug Policy Alliance.
Every day in the United States, 105 people die as a result of drug overdoses involving heroin or pharmaceutical opioids, according to the CDC.
With more than 30,000 deaths annually, accidental overdose has overtaken car accidents as our country's leading cause of accidental death for people 25 to 64, as reported by the CDC.