Narcan could soon be required in every CA school as fentanyl overdoses surge

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Friday, December 9, 2022
Narcan could soon be required in every CA school
EMBED <>More Videos

Narcan could soon be required in every California school as fentanyl overdoses surge.

SACRAMENTO (KGO) -- It's a crisis unfolding not just on our streets, but also in our schools.

"Seven-hundred-seventy Californians under the age of 24 have died of fentanyl overdoses just last year, and that's a 21-fold increase since 2016," said State Assemblymember Joe Patterson.

In recent years, school districts up and down California have been forced to confront fentanyl head-on.

But now, one newly elected lawmaker is hoping to make that fight a little easier.

MORE: Enough fentanyl seized in Marin Co. 'to kill over 1 million people,' sheriff says; couple arrested

Earlier this week, Patterson introduced AB19 -- a bill that would require all public schools in the state to have at least two doses of naloxone on campus.

Commonly known as Narcan, it's a medication used to treat overdoses from drugs, such as fentanyl.

"Kids are purchasing what they think are prescription pills that are laced with this," Patterson said.

Patterson's bill isn't the only one making its way through the halls of power in Sacramento.

MORE: 'A shock': Parent speaks after 10-month-old survives fentanyl overdose at SF park

South Bay State Senator Dave Cortese has introduced a separate bill with similar goals to Patterson's.

He says it's modeled after a program currently run by the Santa Clara County Office of Education.

"There are 58 counties in the state, and maybe one or two counties that are this far advanced so what we want is all 58 counties doing the right thing, and sometimes they just need a good model to follow," Cortese said.

But both lawmakers say they want their bills to go beyond just providing Narcan.

MORE: University of Houston researchers announce potential breakthrough vaccine against fentanyl

They tell ABC7 News that education for both parents and students is also a key part of the battle.

It's a message that Avery Kalafatas agrees with.

Following the death of a loved one from an accidental overdose, the Marin County high school student decided to take matters into her own hands by founding a nonprofit.

"It's so stigmatized, and a lot of parents hold the thought that oh this would never happen to me or to my family, this is something that happens to bad people," Kalafatas said.

MORE: What is rainbow fentanyl? Colorful pills drive new warnings about deadliest drug in the US

While some final details need to be worked out before any voting, Patterson says his bill has bipartisan support.

He hopes to have it become law by 2024.

"$22 dollars per dose, and it has a two-year shelf life. And I think it's really a small cost in order to save the life of individuals," Patterson said.

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live