A new program begins today in Los Angeles County in an effort to combat what's become a national opioid epidemic.

FOX's Jessica Rosenthal reports:

Los Angeles sheriffs deputies in several parts of the county are being equipped with a nasal spray called Narcan that can help prevent opioid overdose deaths. It's being funded by a state department of public health grant.

Sheriff Jim McDonnell says the opioid crisis is most prevalent on the East coast and Midwest but:

(McDonnell) "We wanted to be able to get out in front of this so we're not waiting for the epidemic to hit and the struggling to catch up with it. I feel like we're already seeing cases, but we're on the front end of being ready for what may be coming our way."

Leading LA county's program is commander Judy Gerhardt, who lost her nephew to heroin:

(Gerhardt) "I am the face of what opioid addiction does to a family."

The CDC says 91 people a day die from an opioid overdose.

Jessica Rosenthal, FOX News.

Follow Jessica Rosenthal on Twitter: @JessicaFOXNews