An inmate at the Northern Branch Jail in Santa Maria died following an apparent overdose this week, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office.
On Wednesday night, Oct. 19, sheriff's officials say custody deputies responded to an unconscious inmate who is now recovering after receiving multiple doses of naloxone, a medication used to reverse the effects of opioids.
But a few hours later, early on Thursday morning, two more inmates in the same unit were reportedly found unconscious. Officials say deputies and paramedics performed CPR and administered multiple doses of naloxone to both inmates; however, one of the inmates died.
The other inmate regained consciousness and was taken to a local hospital.
The inmate who died has been identified as 37-year-old Edgar Mescua Estrada, also known as Edgar Estrada Amezcua, of Santa Maria. He was being held without bail following his arrest in May on suspicion of obstructing a peace officer, violating a domestic violence restraining order, and possession of a controlled substance.
In a statement, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said, "Sadly, today's jail overdoses and death appear to be the result of an illicit opioid, probably fentanyl, proving that this scourge upon our community and our nation extends to even the most secure area of our county. We will be conducting full criminal and administrative investigations, and a review of our protocols to keep contraband out of our jails, but this tragedy also reinforces our need to work together as a community to address the vexing problem of opioid abuse through enhanced prevention, enforcement and treatment efforts."
Sheriff's officials say that while the death appears to be an overdose, they are conducting a death investigation.
The website fentanylisforeversb.org offers information on the signs of overdose and how to get naloxone.