Riverside County sheriff’s deputies equipped with nasal-administered drugs that are used to revive people who have overdosed on opioids must have at least one hour of training and be re-certified every two years before they can use the sprays on victims, officials confirmed Wednesday.
Sheriff’s administrators announced Monday that the drug Naloxone, a generic of Narcan, is now available to deputies in the field for use in specific circumstances.
Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, and by discharging the spray into a single nostril of a drug-user in life-threatening respiratory distress from overdose, the spray can reverse the OD effects, restoring the person’s breathing.
Sheriff’s officials said that people who overdose on heroin, prescription pain killers, fentanyl or similar drugs can immediately benefit from rapid deployment of the nasal spray. In extreme circumstances, public safety personnel who have been exposed to harmful agents may also require it, officials said.
According to a sheriff’s statement in response to an inquiry by City News Service, patrol deputies, bailiffs, sergeants and non-sworn community service officers will be equipped with Naloxone after they complete the one-hour training requirement.
“Re-certification will happen every two years and consist of a one-hour update training,” the sheriff’s department stated. “The training includes identifying the indicators of an opioid-related overdose. Department members will treat each instance as a medical emergency and have the discretion to administer or not administer Naloxone.”
Signs of an overdose include “depressed or slow respirations,” “labored or shallow breathing,” “decreased pulse rate,” “low blood pressure,” “loss of alertness,” “evidence of ingestion, inhalation and injection, such as needles, spoons, tourniquets, needle tracks and bloody nose,” the agency said.
Naloxone was successfully used by a deputy to revive a woman suffering the effects of excess heroin and methamphetamine use in La Quinta this month, officials said.
The Riverside County University Health System obtained the necessary grants to procure the Naloxone sprays, which did not impact the sheriff’s budget, according to the department.
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