SAN DIEGO (CNS) - All deputies employed by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department now carry a medication that can save people from drug overdoses if administered in time, the agency announced Monday.

Naloxone, a generic form of a drug called Narcan, counteracts respiratory failure and other ailments in someone who has taken a life-threatening amount of an opiate, such as heroin.

Sheriff Bill Gore decided to supply Naloxone to all patrol personnel in his department following a six-month East County pilot program, launched last July, during which deputies used the nasal-spray emergency treatment to revive 11 overdose victims, Capt. James Bovet said.

The program, administered under the direction of county Emergency Medical Services, can be effective in saving lives because deputies often are the first public-safety personnel to arrive at the scene of a drug overdose, according to sheriff's officials.