File photo.


Press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:

Humboldt County Correctional Deputies and medical staff at the Humboldt County Correctional Facility used medication to save four individuals suspected of overdosing on fentanyl.

Over the past weekend, correctional deputies were alerted to four separate medical emergencies occurring inside the same housing unit. On all four occasions, deputies located the inmates unresponsive and exhibiting signs of opioid overdose. Each incident required multiple administrations of Naloxone. Also known as Narcan, Naloxone is a nasal spray commonly used to counter decreased breathing caused by an opioid overdose.

By quickly responding and administering the life-saving medication, correctional deputies effectively saved all four inmates’ lives. The inmates were transported to a local hospital for treatment following the incidents and are expected to recover.

Correctional deputies have conducted multiple searches of the housing unit and have recovered approximately 15 grams of fentanyl in various forms.

Inmate Dustin Andrew Lawler, age 36, was found to be in possession of 13 grams of pills containing fentanyl, Xanex and morphine. A fresh charge of possession of a controlled substance in a correctional facility (PC 4573.6) has been added to his booking.

Inmate Daniel Ray Gonzales, age 30, was found to be in possession of 2 grams of Fentanyl. A fresh charge of possession of a controlled substance in a correctional facility (PC 4573.6) has also been added to his booking.

An investigation into how the substance entered the facility is being conducted, however, preliminary investigation indicates the substance was smuggled in by both inmates.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid and a Schedule II narcotic that is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin. Humboldt County has seen a substantial increase in illicit fentanyl distribution, possession and overdose cases, including an alarming number of overdose deaths.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, a lethal dose of fentanyl consists of two milligrams, equal in size to a few grains of salt. As of July 1, 2021, the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office has responded to 15 fentanyl overdose deaths.

Due to the rising prevalence of fentanyl in our community, Humboldt County correctional deputies have been equipped to carry Naloxone and have received training on its administration.

Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal commends the correctional deputies and medical staff for their quick actions in saving four lives.