Long Beach paramedics can now use sedatives to 'de-escalate' certain 911 calls

Emergency crews in Long Beach can now use sedatives as means of de-escalating certain situations.

The City of Long Beach announced a pilot program earlier in the month that emergency crews now have the option of using a sedative, Midazolam, on the patient or suspect involved in the 911 call if they pose a threat to their own safety or others' safety.

First responders are allowed to use a sedative on the patient/suspect if they suffer or experience the following conditions:

  • Under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Suffer from mental illness
  • Uncontrolled anger
  • Unusual behavior possibly stemming from serious medical conditions.

Get your top stories delivered daily! Sign up for FOX 11’s Fast 5 newsletter. And, get breaking news alerts in the FOX 11 News app. Download for iOS or Android.

The pilot program comes months after Long Beach implemented a new radio dispatch code, 647V-Intoxicated Person Potentially Violent.

The new policy is designed to "reduce use of force incidents by providing medical assistance on calls for service involving agitated, combative or violent individuals," according to the City of Long Beach.

While Long Beach emergency crews will be using Midazolam in the pilot program, the use of sedatives for 911 calls has drawn controversy in the past. One of the recent high-profile cases includes the death of Elijah McClain in Colorado. Back in 2020, police put McClain in a chokehold before paramedics injected ketamine on the young man.

Elijah McClain death: Results of independent probe faults overall police handling of incident

Tune in to FOX 11 Los Angeles for the latest Southern California news.