California Public Colleges Now Required to Stock Narcan

Having the medicine that reverses an opioid overdose available on campuses will empower students to prevent needless deaths, the bill’s sponsor said.

Published August 31, 2022

Edited by Alex Pasquariello
California Public Colleges Now Required to Stock Narcan
Photo by Lea Suzuki / The San Francisco Chronicle / Hearst Newspapers / Getty Images

  • Narcan, the brand name for naloxone, is a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose.
  • California’s Campus Opioid Safety Act requires that naloxone be available on public college campuses in California.
  • The bill passed on Aug. 11, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed it into law on Monday.

Students on the campuses of California’s public colleges now have a new resource to combat opioid overdoses.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday signed the Campus Opioid Safety Act, which requires Narcan, the name brand for naloxone, a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose, to be stocked in campus health clinics at every public college and university in the state. Institutions will also be required to provide training on how to use naloxone in campus orientation materials.

California Democratic State Sen. Melissa Hurtado sponsored the legislation. She said in a statement that the law empowers students to prevent needless deaths.

“Too many families are losing loved ones to the disease of opioid addiction – children, siblings, parents and friends,” she said. “We must take real action now to prevent these deaths and save lives.”

Naloxone is a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Under the Narcan brand, the naloxone is administered through an easy-to-use nasal spray. While naloxone can reverse the effects of an overdose, it is a temporary treatment. Medical assistance must be obtained as soon as possible after administering and/or receiving naloxone.

The California Overdose Surveillance Dashboard shows 16,537 emergency room visits and 5,502 deaths related to any opioid overdose in 2020. The state’s data is still not finalized for 2021.