Last October, Orange County sheriff’s deputies began carrying naloxone kits. In response to the nationwide increase in opioid overdoses, law enforcement agencies across the country have supplied their officers with these kits. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 1996 to 2014, civilians saved over 26,000 fellow civilians from overdose fatalities. Of those administering naloxone, more than 80 percent were drug users.
Overdose fatalities in Orange County
There were 400 fatal overdoses in Orange County in 2015 – a 6 percent increase over 2014; 286 of these were due to opioids. From 2011 to 2016, 1,769 people in the county died from drug overdoses. The Orange County Coroner’s Office notes between 2011 and 2013, all fatal alcohol and drug overdoses involved opioids.
What is naloxone? How does it work?
Opioids attach to opioid receptors in the brain. This blocks the brain from sending pain messages to the body. It also produces the euphoria or high people who use these drugs crave. Opioids affect the central nervous system (CNS) in a variety of ways. One of these effects is to slow down breathing. When a person fatally overdoses on opioids, he typically dies because he stops breathing.
Naloxone works by unbinding the opioids from their receptors. When naloxone is introduced to the body – usually via a spray into the nostrils – the reaction is immediate. This explains why people who have received naloxone report feeling like they have been jerked back to consciousness.
Naloxone overdose reversals in the O.C.
Unfortunately, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department does not have data on how many overdoses deputies have reversed since they began carrying naloxone kits last fall.
Sovereign Health of California strives to eliminate the need for naloxone for our patients by treating addiction before it reaches a critical stage. When a patient arrives for intake, our intake coordinators perform a thorough assessment. This assessment provides our clinicians the blueprint to create a tailored treatment plan specific to the patient’s needs. Our counselors use this plan to select evidence-based treatment modalities that will best benefit the patient. Please contact the 24/7 helpline listed on this webpage for more information.
About the author
Darren Fraser is a staff writer for Sovereign Health. He worked two and half years as a reporter and researcher for The Yomiuri Shimbun until they realized he did not read, speak or write Japanese and fired him. Undeterred, he channels his love of research into unearthing stories that provide hope to those dealing with addiction and mental illness. Darren loves the Montreal Canadiens hockey club and horror films and would prefer to enjoy these from the comforts of his family’s farm in Quebec. For more information about this media, contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.