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Deputies, medical staff use Narcan to save inmates from overdosing

Source:  San Diego County Sheriff's Office

May 22, 2021 (Otay Mesa) - Deputies and medical staff assigned to the George Bailey Detention Facility in Otay Mesa used medication to save eight inmates from overdosing on fentanyl. 

The incident happened on Tuesday, May 18 just before 7:00 p.m. during safety checks inside a housing unit (House 1B). An inmate was found having difficulty breathing. Deputies quickly notified medical staff and administered Naloxone.  Also known as Narcan, Naloxone is nasal spray commonly used to counter decreased breathing in an opioid overdose.

As deputies were assisting this inmate, three others were found to be exhibiting the same symptoms.  Deputies and medical staff provided treatment and administered Naloxone.

Around 8:30 p.m. as deputies were searching sleeping areas for drugs and conducting interviews about the incident, another inmate was found unresponsive in another housing unit (House 1A). Deputies and medical staff immediately performed Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and administered Naloxone.  Three other inmates were found to be showing signs of being under the influence of drugs. 

All eight inmates were taken to the hospital for further treatment and later returned to the facility.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department has a comprehensive approach to keep illegal drugs from entering county jails. Our innovative strategy combines investments in equipment and technology, utilizing specialized resources and integrating investigative methods to provide a safe environment for those in our custody, as well as our staff. 

It should be noted, Sheriff's Deputies were the first in the Western United States to carry the nasal spray for overdose emergencies.

Here's a snapshot of our multi-faceted approach to keep drugs out of jails:

Point of Entry

Six high tech x-ray body scanners

"No Questions Asked" Drug drop boxes

Overdose awareness video at booking

Warnings on dangers of smuggling drugs in body at intake

Inmate screening and flagging of potential smugglers

Random searches of visitors who may be bringing in drugs


Creation of Mail Processing Center with special equipment and deputies trained in detecting drug-soaked letters, cards, and other contraband.

TruNarc – mobile testing device that identifies drug with the push of a button

Downdraft Tables – pulls dangerous fumes and particles from suspicious mail into a filter

Six drug sniffing K-9s

Anonymous Tip Line

Surprise searches of cells and housing modules

Drug awareness training for deputies and staff. Policy & Procedure updates

Using Intelligence Led-Policing (ILP) strategy to identify patterns, links and trends. Prosecution of smuggling cases

Substance abuse programs in jails in collaboration with community partners so person can stay sober upon release


The Sheriff's Detention Investigations Unit is investigating the incidents. Anyone with information is urged to submit an anonymous tip by clicking here