NEW YORK - Thousands of NYPD officers will soon carry a new weapon to help combat a recent spike in heroin overdoses.

The New York State Attorney General's Office is helping to arm the NYPD with naloxone kits, an emergency antidote that can quickly reverse the effects of an overdose if it is sprayed into a person's nose. More than $1 million has been set aside to buy nearly 20,000 kits and train police officers how to use them.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a press conference Tuesday that officials are doing everything they can to combat a statewide heroin epidemic, adding that they can't just prosecute their way out of it. Police Commissioner William Bratton says the NYPD is proud to be a part of the Community Overdose Prevention Program, which was established last month.

He added that the antidote is already credited with saving more than 500 lives in Suffolk County in the last year.

Bronx residents told News 12 that they hope the program won't eventually backfire.

The MTA said earlier this month that its officers were also being trained to carry the drug kits.