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San Diego County Sheriff's Department makes overdose-reversing medication accessible in jails

The San Diego County Sheriff’s department announced Thursday that all department jails will provide easy access to medication that helps prevent overdoses.
Narcan

The San Diego County Sheriff’s department announced Thursday that all department jails will provide easy access to medication that helps prevent overdoses. 

Individuals in custody at San Diego County Jails will have Naloxone, which blocks the action of an opioid or narcotics, readily available in common areas of housing units and visitation areas. The medication is commonly known as Narcan, and it comes as a nasal spray that can reverse the effects of opioids in the body to allow the affected person to breathe. 

Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription. Department officials warn that Narcan is not a substitute for treatment, but it can assist in urgent action to start the emergency medical response. 

 Deputies and medical staff will immediately respond once alerted to an overdose emergency.

“We will call 9-1-1 and continue to administer Narcan, perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and other life support measures until paramedics arrive,” the Sheriff’s department wrote in a statement. 

Officials say an instructional video will also be shown repeatedly in the housing units as a reminder for people in custody on how to administer the medication. 

This comes as overdoses and overdose-related deaths in San Diego Jails have increased over the years. A sobering report released by the California State Auditor found 185 deaths in county jails from 2006 through 2020. 

Accidental deaths, including drug overdoses, accounted for 31 of those deaths. According to the Sheriff’s department, all detention deputies already carry doses. 

From 2020 to now, deputies have used Naloxone more than 400 times in suspected overdose cases. More than 1,200 doses of Naloxone were used in these incidents with some individuals needing more than a dozen Narcan before starting to wake up from an overdose. 

The San Diego Sheriff’s Department recently implemented new medical protocols to screen all individuals booked in custody for substance abuse.