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The Latest: Prison sergeants will carry life-saving drug

December 7, 2018

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on inmate overdoses (all times local):

5:40 p.m.

Correctional sergeants working the overnight shift in California prisons will start next month carrying a drug that can save the lives of those who overdose on opioids.

The decision made public Thursday comes in response to a growing problem of opioid deaths behind prison walls, most recently a pair of suspected fatal overdoses on California’s death row this week.

Prison nurses began carrying the overdose-reversing drug naloxone in 2016.

A prison spokesman says certain sergeants are being added because they generally are the first responders in the housing units overnight when medical staff aren’t as readily available.

Steven Fama of the nonprofit Prison Law Office said Thursday that attorneys requested earlier this year that correctional officers and even inmates carry the antidote.

Statistics provided to the Associated Press show 40 California inmates died of drug overdoses last year.

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3:23 p.m.

A pair of suspected fatal overdoses on California’s death row this week is adding urgency to an effort to allow prison guards and even inmates to carry a drug that can save the lives of those who overdose on opioids.

Steven Fama of the nonprofit Prison Law Office said Thursday that attorneys made the request earlier this year to corrections officials.

Prison nurses began carrying the overdose-reversing drug naloxone in 2016.

Officials could not immediately comment on the request to expand its availability.

Statistics provided to the Associated Press show 40 California inmates died of drug overdoses last year.

Officials are investigating drug smuggling at the prison as they await autopsies Friday for Joseph Perez Jr. and Herminio Serna, who died while awaiting execution at San Quentin State Prison.

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