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San Mateo County officials installed public Narcan dispenser at Maguire Correctional Facility in Redwood City

Redwood City, California – The Sheriff’s Office and Correctional Health Services have set up a machine in the Maguire Correctional Facility’s public lobby in Redwood City that distributes free Narcan doses. Narcan, a medication that reverses opioid overdoses, is offered to anyone, including released inmates, their friends and families, and the general public. The machine dispenses a box with two doses of Narcan.

Narcan, also known as naloxone, comes in a nasal spray form and is straightforward to use. It allows individuals such as friends and passersby to quickly provide critical help in an overdose situation. Although first responders are equipped with naloxone, it can be used even before emergency services are called since immediate action is crucial during an overdose.

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The California Department of Public Health advises that people who know someone at a higher risk of opioid overdose should have naloxone on hand. This includes individuals with an opioid use disorder, those prescribed high doses of opioids, those who use opioids and benzodiazepines concurrently, and recreational drug users. Carrying naloxone and informing others about its availability can be life-saving in the event of an overdose.

California’s Good Samaritan law ensures protection for those who provide emergency medical help, including the administration of naloxone during medical emergencies. Additionally, the Narcan dispensing machine includes a touchscreen that lists other services such as food, housing, substance abuse treatment, mental health, and probation and parole support.

“This effort took over a year and is the result of a great partnership with the Sheriff’s Office,” said Correctional Health Services Director Michael del Rosario. “As we strive to make improvements in the services we provide to our incarcerated persons and to the community, we hope that we can help save a few lives with this project.”

In response to the increasing public health concerns from affordable opioids and fentanyl, in May 2023, the Board of Supervisors advocated for wider naloxone access, enhanced collaboration between County Health, public safety officials, and other parties, heightened public awareness, and more robust data collection to pinpoint high-risk areas and populations.

he Sheriff’s Office and Correctional Health Services have set up a machine in the Maguire Correctional Facility's public lobby in Redwood City that distributes free Narcan doses
Narcan spray, credit: Unsplash

To tackle issues of addiction and mental health within jails, Correctional Health Services and the Sheriff’s Office have broadened the scope of the Behavioral Health Unit and transformed the Detox Unit into the Medical Observation Unit. These units are equipped with specialized teams and tailored resources available directly on-site.

More local news and California state news.

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