Two inmates at Santa Barbara’s Northern Branch Jail were given Narcan after suffering apparent opioid overdoses on Saturday, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The two inmates were cellmates and were taken to a local hospital after county deputies discovered them showing signs of overdoses and administered Narcan, an opioid overdose-reversing medication, sheriff’s spokeswoman Raquel Zick said.
On Saturday evening, custody staff noticed a female inmate laying on the floor of her cell. When custody staff entered the cell they noted the woman was unresponsive and had blue lips, Zick said.
The jail staff administered two doses of Narcan and the woman regained consciousness. She was transported to the hospital for follow-up care, according to the County Sheriff’s Office.
As she was being transported, deputies noticed that her cellmate was also showing signs of an overdose, Zick said. Custody staff called another ambulance and administered two doses of Narcan to that woman as well.
The second inmate regained consciousness and was also transported to a nearby hospital.
There have been frequent instances of suspected opioid overdoses in custody at Santa Barbara County jails in recent years.
The County Grand Jury investigated four deaths in jail custody including two fentanyl overdoses that happened last year: Santa Maria resident Edgar Estrada Amezcua, 37, and Santa Barbara resident Kristina Marie Chermak, 35.
Narcan — a powerful tool in the fight against opioid overdoses that has the potential to reverse the fatal effects of fentanyl — is available for free from the Pacific Pride Foundation, the Santa Barbara Opioid Safety Coalition, UC Santa Barbara Student Health Services Alcohol and Drug Program, and Fentanyl is Forever SB.
Sheriff’s Office locations distributing Narcan doses for free include: the Buellton Sheriff’s Station, Coastal Bureau Sheriff’s Station, Goleta Valley Patrol Bureau, Isla Vista Foot Patrol, Lompoc Valley Sheriff’s Station, New Cuyama Sheriff’s Station, Santa Maria Sheriff’s Station, and Santa Ynez Valley Station.