BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Jail is implementing new protocol for inmates who overdose on some drugs while in custody. Sheriff Shane Nelson says deputies are now trained to use a drug to try and reverse the effects of opiates, like Heroin. "We’re seeing a lot more heroin, in this area, especially. I’ll briefly tell you that prescription drug abuse is a common doorway to some of this. And then they find out that prescription drug use is an expensive habit. So, the alternative is Heroin, which is cheaper."
Sheriff Nelson tells KBND News, "Naloxone is a different form of a drug you probably commonly know as Narcan. Naloxone has been rolled out in our jail; we have it in strategic locations within our facility. And, it’s for opiate abusers. If someone is overdosing on, let’s say Heroin, then Naloxone can be administered and hopefully will reverse the effects of that overdose." After deputies administer the drug, the inmate is then transported by paramedics to the hospital. Sheriff Nelson says Naloxone has been used successfully at a handful of other jails around the state, as opiate use increases.
The move comes just a couple of months after the jail began staffing full-time nurses. Nelson acknowledges the improved emergency medical care is partly in response to a high-profile death of an inmate who overdosed on meth back in December.
Eventually, the Sheriff plans to expand the use of Naloxone. "We just finished training the last of our teams in the jail. We are looking to expand it; we want to put it in our patrol cars. So, we’re going to implement that in our patrol vehicles as well, and train our patrol staff."
To hear more of our conversation with Sheriff Shane Nelson, visit our Podcast Page