Everyday Heroes In California Save Lives with Naloxone
Recently, a new law was added to the California books that requires public schools to keep a steady supply of Narcan, also known as Naloxone, in their emergency supplies. The opioid overdose reversal drug has become a vital public health tool as the drug supply has been inundated with fentanyl. However, schools aren’t the only way that Narcan has saved lives. People who don’t use opioids but live in California have begun to take the harm-reducing measure into their own hands. Several community members spoke recently to the LA Times to describe how they have helped save lives by carrying it on them when they’re out in their communities.
What Is Naloxone, And How Can You Carry It?
Naloxone, known chiefly by its brand name, Narcan, is an opioid-overdose reversal tool approved by the FDA. People who want to carry Naloxone on hand or keep it in their homes face few barriers thanks to California legislation.
The Department of Health Services in your county will be able to distribute fentanyl to people who want to carry it. LA County has made it a mission to hand out 50,000 doses in a year, including people living in encampments uniquely positioned to save drug-using peers.
People who don’t use drugs are still often in a position to save lives. Family members often come across an unconscious relative and try to administer CPR. Naloxone is the only thing that can reverse the effects of an overdose. Many parents and spouses of addicted persons now keep Naloxone in their homes in case of emergency.
Fentanyl Is a Public Health Emergency
Fentanyl has caused an uptick in deaths for Californians in the past three years. It's been found as an additive in almost every type of street drug. In 2021, 625 people died of an overdose in San Francisco, an uptick of 41%. So many people in the community see carrying Narcan as a way to help others stay alive long enough to find recovery. EMTs, people in recovery from addiction, and other empathetic people have revived overdose victims and helped them stay alive.
Narcan is just one tool to help fight the fentanyl epidemic. However, it’s a powerful one – saving a life is a priceless task. Once a person has been revived, they still need medical attention. Most likely, they will be given drug treatment options when in the ER. Some of them will take the chance and decide to get sober. Others will take a little longer.
Treatment centers and sober living homes in California stock Narcan as a preventative measure.
When a person is still alive and breathing, the chance for recovery is always there.
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Coping with the youth fentanyl overdose crisis has been scary. California has experienced a flurry of fentanyl-related overdoses within high schools. The dangers are real enough tschoolshool are going to be required to keep Naloxone, the opioid reversal drug, on hand by law. This new law aims to tackle the epidemic of fentanyl overdoses.
California recently passed Assembly Bill 19, requiring schools to keep the lifesaving drug naloxone on hand in case of accidental fentanyl overdoses. Unfortunately, high schools around the country have been experiencing this. In October, a student overdosed at a Los Angeles school during regular class hours. A few weeks later, Prince George's County, across the US, Maryland suffered a string of overdoses in public high schools.
California Needs To Cope With Fentanyl Influx
California, in its quest to slow and end the opioid epidemic, is trying to tackle every angle. The new law would require schools in California to have at least two doses of emergency drugs such as a naloxone inhaler or canister. However, two doses may not be enough if a student overdoses on pure fentanyl. Most students who have overdosed don't even realize that their drug could be tainted, and their bodies can't handle
Fentanyl has been found in all street drugs, from cocaine and meth to Oxy and heroin. However, prevention of overdoses starts with education, and there seems to be a deficit when it comes to kids understanding the dangers of tainted street drugs.
Getting Naloxone for Fentanyl Overdoses into the Schools
No one wants to think of schools as a place where young possessing drugs. But that has always been the reality, regardless of the measures schools and local law enforcement take to prevent it. Many students who overdose don't know what they are taking- California is flush with fentanyl and counterfeit pills.
Schools are a place where drug education and mitigation can take place. But they are also where kids sell and swap drugs in their spare time. Adding naloxone to schools to prevent overdoses was a bipartisan measure with little opposition. The issue will come down to funding and costs. Fentanyl can be costly to keep in stock.
California has had trouble funding other programs that help with opioid use disorder. There have been wait lists for supplies of naloxone, an opioid-overdose reversal drug that can help save lives. It's recommended that anyone who uses opioids or takes them regularly should keep a supply of Naloxone on hand in case of accidental overdose. This means that schools will havesavekeep a steady supply and money will be needed.
Which Schools Need To Prevent Fentanyl Overdoses?
Fentanyl is a threat to all high schools and junior high schools. Young people frequently experiment with drugs without knowing the hazards. Naloxone will be required on all of the more than 10,000 K-12 campuses in California once the bill is signed into law. Implementation would begin with middle and high schools.
Some larger school districts in Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Fresno already stock naloxone, but for the plan to succeed, the state must fund the initiative. Naloxone can be expensive, especially when it needs restocking.
Legislators also want to be able to offer schools naloxone training, opioid abuse education, and fentanyl education. Many young people don't know about the dangers of street drugs when it comes to fentanyl. Adding education to student health classes can help save lives.
Living Substance-Free in San Diego
If you or somebody you love is interested in sober housing, we're here to help. We offer a safe, tight-knit community focused on recovery and moving forward in life. Give us a call to learn more about our sober living programs at 760-216-2077.
The new face of addiction is no longer the cliche brown bag holding homeless adult. Its in the suburbs, in college forms and in the comfort of a family home. As the stigma of substance use disorders begins to be a part of the vocabulary of community, the shock of overdoses will continue to cause intimidation and fear from agencies towards an education and preventive task. Cities such as New York seem to be leading the way in Narcan training (naloxone), placing power in non medical and lay responders to avoid overdoses all together. The shift from finding the fault to understanding the nature is the big first step.