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Bexar County purchases 20-month supply of opioid overdose-reversing drug for deputies

Bexar County Judge Peter Sakai speaking behind a podium. Behind him are boxes of Narcan which sit on and under a white foldable table. Behind those boxes are two sheriff's office vehicles. Behind Sakai on his right are three individuals from the county and UT Health San Antonio.
Josh Peck
/
TPR
Bexar County Judge Peter Sakai announcing the purchase of 1,992 doses of Naracan outside at the Bexar County complex.

Bexar County Judge Peter Sakai and Sheriff Javier Salazar announced on Friday the purchase of a 20-month supply of naloxone for use by the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office. The drug, also commonly known as Narcan, can reverse opioid overdoses.

Salazar said Narcan had become an essential part of his deputies’ tool kit in the past year, despite initially being seen as a novelty item.

“Just in 2022 alone, 51 of our patrol deputies saved lives by administering Narcan,” he said.

Sakai said the county used $47,000 from a $2.2 million pool the county received as part of a settlement with opioid manufacturers and distributors to purchase 1,992 doses of Narcan for sheriff’s deputies.

He explained why deputies needed to be equipped with the drug.

“By treating overdoses quickly, it becomes the first step in opening a door to treatment, recovery, and ultimately connection to resources,” Sakai said. “Providing a starting point for what is often long-term care.”

Dr. Andrea Guerrero-Guajardo, the director of Preventative Health and Environmental Services at Bexar County, said she believed it was worth investing in Narcan.

“Harm reduction interventions have proven to save lives and give people with this disease the opportunity to live and potentially seek recovery,” she said. “People are more than five times more likely to seek treatment when they encounter harm-reduction interventions than just by abstinence alone.”

Narcan has become increasingly vital to local communities in Texas in recent years; the state ranks in the top 20 for fentanyl overdoses.

Texas Public Radio is supported by contributors to the Bioscience and Medicine News Desk including UT Health San Antonio and Dr. Johnny and Joni Reyna, supporting prostate cancer research and early detection to save lives.

Josh Peck is the Technology & Entrepreneurship Reporter for Texas Public Radio.