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East County News Service

June 17, 2022 (San Diego) -- People in custody at all San Diego County Sheriff's Department Jails now have easy access to lifesaving medication to help prevent overdoses.

Naloxone is a medication that blocks the action of opioids or narcotics. Also known as Narcan, it comes as a nasal spray that can rapidly reverse the effects of opioids in the body so a person can breathe normally again. 

The Narcan kits are placed in the common areas of the housing units, as well as visitation areas of detention facilities.

Individuals will watch an instructional video on administering the medication during the booking process. The instructional video will also be shown repeatedly in the housing units as a reminder for people in custody on how to administer the lifesaving drug. The medication in housing units also comes with a photo instruction.

To watch the video on how to use Narcan, click here or click the image to the left.

The Sheriff's Department started research on the implementation of this program in 2021 by consulting and visiting various detention facilities across California. 

Narcan is not a substitute for treatment. It is an urgent action that helps start the emergency medical response. Deputies and medical staff will immediately respond once alerted to an overdose emergency, call 9-1-1 and continue to administer Narcan, perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and other life support measures until paramedics arrive. 

All detention deputies already carry doses of Naloxone. Since 2020 to now, deputies in San Diego County jails 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. 

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.

Making Narcan readily available to people in custody is part of the Sheriff department’s ongoing efforts and comprehensive plan to increase safety and healthcare in our jails.

To watch a video message from Undersheriff Kelly Martinez, click here.

County jails have also implemented new medical protocols to screen all individuals being booked into custody for substance abuse. To read a  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
  • X-Rays 
  • Six drug sniffing K-9 dogs
  • Pat downs
  • Surprise checks of housing units 
  • Mail Processing Center  


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