State inmate lawyers want increased use of life-saving drug
A pair of suspected fatal overdoses on the nation’s largest death row this week is adding urgency to an effort to allow California prison guards and even inmates to carry a drug that can save the lives of those who overdose on opioids.
Attorneys made the request earlier this year to state corrections officials and the federal receiver who controls prison medical care under a longrunning lawsuit, Steven Fama of the nonprofit Prison Law Office said Thursday.
Forty California inmates died of drug overdoses last year, according to statistics provided to The Associated Press on Thursday in advance of their publication. That’s double the number of drug-related deaths in 2014 and 2015, according to an annual death review for the receiver’s office. California’s long-term drug overdose rate is more than three times the nationwide prison rate.
Prison nurses began carrying the overdosereversing drug naloxone in 2016.
It is routinely administered when any inmate is found unconscious, no matter the cause, because there are no adverse sideeffects, said Liz Gransee, a spokeswoman for the federal receiver. She and corrections officials could not immediately comment on the request to expand its availability.