Starting today, San Diego County Sheriff's Department will be carrying the life-saving drug Naloxone, also known by it's brand name Narcan. The deputies in San Diego will be the first law enforcement agency in California to carry the drug and the largest agency in the nation. The drug is either administered with an intramuscular injection or with a nasal spray.
In 1971, a prescription drug known as Naloxone or brand name Narcan was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. It is a medication that can reverse the affects of an opiate overdose by restoring your bodies ability to breathe. Naloxone is non-addictive, non-toxic and easy to administer through the nose or shot. The medication does not get you high and has no recreational use. It is stocked in emergency rooms, ambulances and post-surgery recovery rooms all over the country.
The drug has been linked to saving thousands of lives thus far. Most states are pushing their county governments to have their first responders carry the life-saving drug. The drug has been doing so much good and saving so many lives but still has been hit with some negative reaction. Some individuals believe the drug is giving addicts a way out from their deadly consequences. They believe that the drug will allow addicts to abuse the drugs more vigorously because they will not fear death because of the Narcan. These views come from a lack of education with the drug addiction community. No drug addict is going to use their drug more because they feel safe knowing a first responder will save them. In a lot of cases involving an overdose, those that are using with the victim become scared that they will be prosecuted for using the illegal drugs and take off without helping the victim. So to say that the addicts will use more is not a credible reason in my eyes.
The good news for San Diego citizens is that the 6 month pilot program is being launched with no cost to them. Scripps Health, a nonprofit integrated health system in San Diego, donated $4,500 to purchase the antidote for the six-month trial period. The pilot program will be administered under the director of County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Director, Dr. Bruce Haynes, who helped develop the protocol, procedures and training necessary for the deputies to safely administer the antidote, sheriff's officials said. Under the program, deputies – who are the first to respond to a scene – will be allowed to administer Naloxone to overdose victims prior to the arrival of EMS units when every second is critical.
With San Diego County Sheriff's Department starting to carry Narcan, it will bring more exposure for the drugs use for first responders. Expect many states to see the advantages of the drugs use and it's low costs (average $25 per dose). With the opiate epidemic taking more lives per year than car accidents, every town in the nation should have this drug in it's arsenal and soon I believe, that will be a reality.