SAN DIEGO — San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies are on the front lines of the fentanyl crisis, using naloxone to prevent overdoses.

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. It has become increasingly popular in San Diego, with the number of overdose deaths from fentanyl-related drugs rising dramatically in recent years. In 2021 alone, 1,117 overdose deaths were reported. 

“Purdue and other pharmaceutical companies that are ultimately responsible for the huge increase in our country, knowingly addicting our children and while profiting billions of dollars. As those settlement dollars come in Jaime, a part of that is dedicated towards an aggressive education campaign,” County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said.

In response, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department has begun equipping its deputies with naloxone, an opioid antagonist that can reverse the effects of an overdose.

The department has also trained its deputies on how to recognize and respond to an overdose situation. Deputies have already used naloxone to save lives in San Diego County. 

The sheriff’s department is also working with local health officials and community organizations to raise awareness about the dangers of fentanyl and other opioids. They are encouraging people who use drugs to carry naloxone with them at all times and seek medical help immediately if they or someone else experiences an overdose.

Sheriff’s deputies are also handing out naloxone to anyone who asks for the nasal spray, no questions asked.