Inside the walls of San Diego’s Central Library, concerns about suicide attempts and drug overdoses are mounting, and staff members are fed up.
“We all know there’s an opioid epidemic. It’s affecting everyone, not just our homeless people,” said Misty Jones, the city’s library director. “And we as a society need to do something and pay attention to that.”
Jones said there have been dozens of overdoses inside and outside the building over the past three years, and two attempted suicides.
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The city is now seeking additional funding from the Budget Committee to provide another guard for the library and to provide all guards with overdose neutralizers, naloxone, or narcan.
Jones said some guards started carrying Narkan late last year, which may have saved 17 people who had overdoses.
“That’s why we decided to have both. Our guards both carry it, and we also have staff trained to administer Narcan and Naloxone,” Jones said.
“In general, everyone should carry it,” says Shannon Knox of San Diego’s Harm Coalition. If you have this drug, you can save someone’s life.”
The focus of this group is to make the drug naloxone easily available to all members of the community.
“It’s very important to have on hand, especially since the epidemic of opioid overdose deaths has basically escalated for 20 years,” said Knox.
The Budget Committee approved a $4 million increase to the city’s five-year contract with a private security firm in early December, but now the city has more funding to address the Central Library’s security needs. is requesting
Library staff, meanwhile, have mental health caseworkers, veterans resource centers, and social work interns on site to try to meet the needs of the community as best they can.
“We are facing a lot of issues that we are working on and we are trying to be as prepared as possible so that we can respond quickly,” Jones said.
The plan is expected to receive final approval from the city council in January.