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Sheriff’s Deputies To Carry Drug Overdose Nasal Spray

Some East County sheriff's deputies will carry a nasal spray used to counteract problems breathing and other issues with someone overdosing on heroin or another type of opiates as part of a pilot program starting Monday.

Deputies in Santee, La Mesa and unincorporated areas near El Cajon will be the first law enforcement officers in the state to test Naloxone, a generic form of a drug called Narcan, on patrols, according to the sheriff's department.

The sheriff's department estimates 300 people will die of drug overdoses in San Diego County in 2014.

"We've seen such a large increase in overdoses and drug use related to opiates in families all over the county," sheriff's Capt. James Bovet said.

An opiate overdose can leave the victim unconscious and unable to breathe. Sheriff's officials said that the person could die if left untreated.

Deputies will be trained to administer Naloxone when they are the first to respond to an overdose, which may keep the victim alive long enough for county Emergency Medical Services personnel to arrive and take the victim to a hospital, authorities said.

County Emergency Medical Services Director Bruce Haynes said Naloxone reverses the effects of opiates, which can save lives.

"We've had a really good relationship with the sheriff's on this, and it's exciting to bring this treatment forward with first responders, where it hasn't been before, and we anticipate it's going to be life-saving," Haynes said.

The six-month pilot program will help officials determine if the use of Naloxone by deputies is feasible and effective. UC San Diego researchers will assist, Bovet said.

The drug was purchased using money donated by Scripps Health. The program will be administered under the direction of county Emergency Medical Services, according to the sheriff's department.

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