Deputies given new tool to help during drug overdose calls

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SAN DIEGO – Death from overdose in San Diego County continues to be epidemic. In an effort to combat the staggeringly high numbers, San Diego Sheriff’s deputies are part of pilot program that gives them a new tool that has the potential to save lives.

Deputies were given a nasal spray that is an antidote to the effects of overdose on opiates, including heroin and Oxycontin.

“Death from prescription drugs has gone up 50 percent,” said Bruce Haynes, the director of the San Diego County Emergency Services. “We hope we can have an impact on those numbers.”

DEA Investigates San Diego Deputy“People are dying. If we can give a simple tool of a deputy sheriff like Naloxone and can save a life, we think that’s worth while thing to do,” said sheriff’s Capt. James Bovet.

The 6-month pilot program will give first responders access to this potentially lifesaving nasal spray that has the ability to bring someone over-dosing back from the brink of death.

“The spray works by displacing the drugs in the brain,” said Haynes. “It reverses the effects, like lack of breathing, which kills people quickly.”

Emergency room physicians said those first critical minutes are vital and often its law enforcement that are first on scene – waiting for medics to arrive. The new law allows cops and citizens to administer the drug antidote.

“We can recognize how important it is to just save minutes,” said emergency room physician Dr. Sean Evans. “Minutes mean brain, minutes mean recovery and minutes mean ultimately survival.”

The program’s kits and data analysis is part of joint effort between Scripps Health and University of California, San Diego.