A deputy recently saved the life of a man in Moorpark suffering from a drug overdose, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office announced Saturday.
Deputies responded on Thursday to a report that a man in the 5500 block of Grimes Canyon Road had stopped breathing. One deputy realized the 35-year-old had overdosed on opioids and administered naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan--an FDA-approved nasal spray that can treat the effects of an opioid overdose.
After receiving the emergency treatment, the man began breathing on his own and was taken to a local hospital, Sgt. William Hutton said in a news release. It was the first time the Ventura County Sheriff's Office had saved a life with Narcan.
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"The Ventura County Sheriff's Office continues to support prevention and intervention strategies to decrease the misuse of prescription pain medications as well as the abuse of heroin," Hutton said in the news release.
Hutton explained in the news release that the Sheriff’s Office began equipping every patrol vehicle with naloxone kits in August. He also said that deputies would not arrest people for being under the influence of drugs who ask for help or overdose. Naloxone kits were also said to be available to the public through Ventura County Behavioral Health.
Out of the 1,563 deaths reported to Ventura County in 2018, 170 were due to an overdose from medications, alcohol or drugs, according to a report from the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office. In 96 cases, opioids were by far the most prevalent drug used in overdoses, though meth use showed the most increase from the previous year.
In the county, Ventura city had the most fatal overdoses at 44, followed by Oxnard at 41 and Thousand Oaks at 21. Opioids were the most common cause of death for all cities except Ventura, where meth surpassed the 18 opioid deaths with 24 fatal cases.
There were a predicted 5,900 drug overdose deaths in California and over 69,000 nationally between April 2018 and April 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The vast majority of those were from opioids.
The CDC recommends naloxone be distributed more frequently to prevent deaths by opioid overdose. Though naloxone prescriptions have increased in recent years, a CDC report raises concerns that it isn’t enough. The report notes that the 557,000 prescriptions given nationally in 2018 were only a 16th of the number of high-dose opioid prescriptions given to patients.
Out of the 170 accidental deaths caused by overdoses in Ventura County last year, 26 were due to drugs obtained by prescription, according to the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office.