U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. wants police officers and other emergency responders across the country to carry and administer the drug naloxone. If given quickly enough, this FDA-approved pharmaceutical, developed in the 1960s, can restore breathing in a person who has overdosed on heroin or an opioid prescription drug. It is also used to reverse the effects of opiates given during surgery. Holder last week urged law enforcement agencies to train officers to administer naloxone in emergency situations and require them to carry it. But for this to become the national norm, legislatures in many states would have to act. Only 17 states and the District of Columbia have laws allowing first responders to administer naloxone, which is sold under the brand name Narcan. Holder’s request is part of the Justice Department’s effort to stem the growing number of deaths in the U.S. from overdoses of heroin and prescription painkillers. Deaths from heroin overdoses nationwide increased by 45% between 2006 and 2010, the attorney general said.