East County News Service
December 23, 2022 (San Diego) -- An incarcerated person has used a lifesaving medication available in the common housing areas of all county jails to assist another incarcerated person in medical distress. This is the eighth time an incarcerated individual has administered Naloxone since the San Diego County Sheriff's Department made the nasal spray accessible to the incarcerated population at county jails in June 2022.
The latest incident happened on December 15 just after 2:30 p.m. at the George Bailey Detention Facility in Otay Mesa.
An alarm alerted Sheriff's deputies on duty that someone had accessed a Naloxone box within the housing unit. Naloxone is a nasal spray that rapidly reverses and blocks the effects of opioids or narcotics in the body so a person can breathe normally again.
When deputies arrived at the housing unit, they found an incarcerated man who was unresponsive. Another person in custody had already given him two doses of Naloxone. Deputies and jail medical staff assumed medical aid and gave the victim another eight doses of Naloxone. The man became responsive and was rushed to the hospital by paramedics for treatment. He has been released from the hospital and is back at the George Bailey Detention Facility.
The Naloxone kits are part of the Sheriff's Department's preventative efforts to protect those custody from the dangerous effects of drug abuse and overdose.
Naloxone is placed in the common areas of the housing units at all county jails. Individuals watch an instructional video on administering the medication during the booking process. The instructional video is also shown repeatedly in the housing units as a reminder on how to administer Naloxone. The medication in housing units also comes with photo instructions. To watch the video, click here or the photo below.
The Sheriff's Department started research on the implementation of this program in Spring of 2022 by consulting and visiting various detention facilities across California.
All detention deputies already carry doses of Naloxone. Since 2020 to now, deputies in San Diego County jails have used Naloxone more than 500 times in suspected overdose cases. More than 1700 doses of Naloxone were used in these incidents with some individuals needing more than a dozen doses before starting to wake up from an overdose.
Upon release, those with substance use treatment needs and at risk for opioid overdose are given access to free Naloxone and may be connected to treatment programs in the community for continuity of care.
The Sheriff’s Department has also implemented new medical protocols to screen all individuals being booked into custody for substance abuse. To read our news release, click here.
This is in addition to other preventive measures already in place to keep illegal drugs from coming into our jails:
- Body Scanners
- Six drug sniffing K-9s
- Pat downs
- Surprise checks of housing units
- Mail Processing Center
San Diego County in recent years has had the highest number of jail deaths of any major County in San Diego. The steps outlined above are among the efforts made to reduce deaths of people in custody.