The NYPD’s 120th Precinct had been trained to administer the spray as part of a pilot program to fight the high rate of painkiller abuse on Staten Island. The officer involved with the incident was outfitted with the spray with just last month, a police source said Wednesday.
The 44-year-old victim was unresponsive and not breathing when police arrived. In 2012, there were 190 painkiller deaths citywide, 37 of them on Staten Island, statistics showed. The rate per 100,000 residents was five times as high as in Queens, four times as high as in Brooklyn and three times as high as in Manhattan and the Bronx.