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Naloxone, a drug that has the ability to reverse the effects of opioids, was used to save the lives of two L.A. County jail inmates who might have died of an overdose on May 26.

The drug, otherwise known as narcan, is now accessible to inmates at the direction of Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva in an effort to curb drug overdoses amongst inmates during a rising opioid crisis in the country and in jails.

Scriberr News reached out to the L.A. Sheriff’s Department (LASD) for more information on the program, but they declined to comment.

During the Inmate Orientation Program, inmates are instructed to watch an educational video and are shown how to administer the drug in case of an emergency with a fellow inmate. 

Though this program is fairly new, Narcan is  part of an effort to save people from drug overdoses not just in L.A. jails, but across  the city.

The Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution (OEND) program began in 2019. All people who are at risk of an opioid overdose are provided education and naloxone. The potentially life saving drug is also administered to inmates who are being released from jail, as they are at a very high risk to overdose.

According to a study in 2020, opioid overdoses are responsible for over 68,000 American deaths every year. It is the fourth leading cause of death behind cancer, heart disease, and liver disease.

Despite the rollout of Narcan, the number of prison deaths has been increasing. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that two-thirds of U.S. prisoners suffer from substance addiction.

This is due to an increase in the popularity of the drug fentanyl, which is still smuggled into prisons despite efforts to keep out opioids. 

This plan is one among many large and expensive efforts to stop the flow of drugs entering prisons. For example, in 2019, Gavin Newsom implemented a plan to provide treatment that would cost $233 million.

Though this plan does not directly treat the addiction of inmates, it provides them with a life saving opportunity if they find themselves in a situation that could be  fatal.

  If the program continues to be successful, the L.A. Sheriff’s Department said they will expand it.

Written ByNicole Norman

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