California programs are waiting weeks for free Narcan to prevent overdose deaths
Cars line a long driveway in Lompoc. The driveway is a long, quiet drive leading to the houses on a hilltop. On a rainy night, there are usually at least a few cars parked on the road, which leads to some backyards and a large field where cattle graze the evening away in the rain.
The homes on the hillside have no driveways. Instead, there is another driveway up the hill, off to the side. It leads to what was once a stable with a corral and horse outbuildings. The barn and stables are no longer there. Someone left them back in the 1980s and turned the place into a couple of residences.
The houses on the hill are in a neighborhood of roughly 100 homes. They are in a gated neighborhood that is surrounded by a fence with three entry points. The neighborhood is located in the Los Angeles County San Bernardino County Inland Empire, which according to the county is the most highly populated county in the United States.
At around 6 PM on a Wednesday in early June, a woman came to the door of the home she shares with her husband and one of her sons. She was in pain and needed to be treated for an overdose. She couldn’t wait. The Narcan she had used to reverse an overdose had been stolen while she was in an emergency room.
“I said we have to go get it,” says Dariel Mendoza her husband, “it’s a drug deal at the house.”
Overdose victims are waiting weeks to be seen by a physician or nurse. They are afraid to go to a hospital until they have been given medicine that could save their life.
“It’s very stressful,” says one of the neighbors, who only requested to be identified by her first name