The lifesaving overdose medication Narcan is now in place inside all jail cells at the Chelan County Regional Justice Center. 

Jail director Chris Sharp says the decision was made to give inmates fingertip access to Narcan after a near death experience. 

"We sent one out of the facility for O.D.," said Sharp. "They required a five day stay. So, just so the commissioners know, Narcan is now in the cells. We had it outside the cells. We made the call after that incident that we would put Narcan in the cells." 

Narcan, which is also known as Naloxone, can quickly restore normal breathing to a person during an opioid overdose. 

Sharp told county commissioners at a public meeting Tuesday that Chelan County jail cells have either two or four doses inside them, depending on the size of the cell. 

He said the idea was well received during a phone conference among Washington jail commanders, who were advised to follow Sharp’s lead if presented with a similar overdose issue. 

Sharp said inmates are well aware of its presence. 

"It's in the cells," Sharp said. "I told them not to mess with it. There's nothing they can gain by messing with it. It doesn't get them high." 

The use of Narcan to temporarily reverse overdoses from opioids has become widespread in recent years. 

It can reverse an overdose from opioids—including heroin, fentanyl, and prescription opioid medications—when given in time. 

Naloxone is easy to use and has not required medical training or authorization for some time. It’s packaged as prefilled nasal spray and is also available as an injectable. 

Sharp noted Narcan is also outside the cells at Chelan County jail. He said about 50% of his staff carry it in their cargo pockets while they're on shift.  

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