- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 23, 2017

NEW YORK (AP) - Drug overdoses in New York City have gone up by 22 percent so far this year, with 344 deaths recorded by police.

NYPD officials say the number of deaths could have been as high as 615 if not for naloxone, an anti-overdose emergency medicine.

At a City Council meeting on Monday, Police Commissioner James O’Neill said a number of steps are being made to deal with the spike in overdose deaths, including the reassignment of officers to deal with overdoses and coordination with the city’s Health Department.

NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce says that overdose cases will receive the same focus as homicide cases.

Boyce says police saved 271 people from overdoses so far this year.

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