The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department is adding a new resource to their arsenal in the daily fight against fentanyl and other deadly opioids here in the valley.
With a drug crisis that's only getting worse in the valley...
"We are seeing increasing numbers across the board…there are lots of incidences of overdoses every single day in Riverside County," said Deputy Franklin Enochs
Deputies are now adding Naloxone, specifically an FDA-approved formulation of Naloxone, known as Narcan, to their arsenal. Naloxone is a medication designed to stop an opioid overdose in its tracks.
Deputies say medication can absolutely be the difference between life and death.
“It can absolutely be the difference between life and death. You can take someone who is having an opioid overdose or a heroin overdose...they’re dying...their respirations are stopping. And you can take this and completely reverse it," Enochs said.
Every Riverside County Sheriff's deputy will be required to carry Naloxone starting this year. The department is training deputies to help better identify when a person is overdosing.
Enochs described the process of identifying an OD.
"Looking at the pupils, watching the respiration and how they're breathing. Maybe signs, evidence, like maybe if they have needles or prescription bottles," Enochs said.
He also spoke about how deputies use Naloxone to save lives.
"Put the plunger deep inside their nose and then press it with your thumb. It delivers one good shot of medication," Enochs added.
When the medicine is administered, Naloxone molecules travel through the body to the brain. They start attaching to receptor sites, actually displacing the toxic opioid molecules that are causing the overdose.
Last year, 142 people in Riverside County died after overdosing on opioids, a 21% increase since 2016. Authorities say the increase is largely due to the growth in high potency fentanyl on the streets.
If you or a loved one have a prescription for an opioid, it's advised that you have Narcan at home. The medication is available without a prescription in all 50 states.