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UT Health School of Nursing donates Narcan to Bexar County Sheriff’s Office

The donation comes at a time when opioid deaths have increased across Texas, and local law enforcement is getting more overdose-related calls.

SAN ANTONIO — The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office was recently re-stocked with Naloxone, more commonly known as Narcan, a nasal spray that can help individuals who overdosed on opioids.

The UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing donated the supplies, and they are providing education and resources to combat the opioid crisis.

“[It] essentially, allow the person to wake up and begin breathing again, so it really is a life saving medication,” Dr. Lisa Cleveland, a professor in the UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing told KENS 5.

Dr. Cleveland also directs a program that provides training to first responders on the use of Narcan and that has distributed more than 600,000 doses of Narcan throughout Texas since 2018.

That includes individuals and law enforcement agencies, including the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, who recently received a donation of 96 doses.

“It’s absolutely on the rise. I mean we’re seeing a lot more of these incidents, not just deaths but a lot more overdose incidents than we have in years past,” Sheriff Javier Salazar told KENS 5.

The Narcan has come in handy, not just for those dealing with the effects of opioids, but first responders, who are also dealing with the increase of fentanyl in communities.

“Through no fault of their own, they’re just doing their job, they come into contact with this drug and become overcome by it,” Sheriff Salazar said.

According to Texas DPS, fentanyl-related deaths reported in Texas increased 89% from 2020 to 2021. In September, a DPS trooper needed Narcan after coming into contact with fentanyl during a vehicle search in Bexar County.

Dr. Cleveland says there is a mismatch between funding for her program and the number of overdoses reported.

“Overdose rates are up 35% in Texas over the past year or so. And unfortunately, I mentioned this federal funding…the budget for our program has actually only about 47% of what it was back in 2020,” Dr. Cleveland said.

Narcan is available to families through her website, but she says it is available through pharmacies.

She says it can be helpful to police, doctors and families who are dealing with the effects of opioids on loved ones.

“Having Narcan available in an environment where somebody is using opioids, it’s absolutely critical. I mean every single second, every minute counts,” Dr. Cleveland said.

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