College housing complexes will include opioid antagonists.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul recently signed legislation requiring New York State College housing units to have opioid antagonists (i.e., Narcan) on hand in cause of an overdose. Resident Assistants (RAs) and other campus employees will receive training on how to properly administer Narcan should they witness an overdose.
“By signing this legislation, lifesaving overdose prevention medicine will be required in SUNY and CUNY campus housing, as well as trained staff on-site – leading to faster response times and helping prevent needless tragedies. My Administration will continue to work every day to fight the opioid epidemic and provide New Yorkers with further access to lifesaving resources, services, and care,” Hochul said.
The hope is that keeping Narcan in the housing units will allow RAs to offer immediate assistance and lives can be saved.
The state’s comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli, posted a release earlier this month sharing information about New York’s ever-growing opioid crisis, including in college housing units.
DiNapoli found opioid-related overdose deaths increased by “68% to nearly 5,000 from 2019 to 2021.” The issue is closely related to the uptick in illicit fentanyl use, the powerful synthetic opioid that is up to 100 times stronger than morphine, as well as the use of other synthetics.
DiNapoli said, “Overdose deaths statewide from opioids and all drugs (5,841) in 2021 surpassed the previous 2017 peak by more than 1,700 fatalities.” He added, “Too many New Yorkers have died from the misuse of drugs, but the jump in these numbers is alarming. It is a tragedy that devastates families and impacts our communities in countless ways. The data shows our battle against drug overdose deaths is far from over. State leaders must ensure an ongoing commitment of public resources and strategies, including new funding from legal settlements, and innovative, evidence-based solutions for the fight against this deadly epidemic to be effective”
State Senator Anna Kaplan said, “The first step in addressing a problem is understanding it, and thanks to State Comptroller DiNapoli’s new report on the overdose crisis in New York, we have a road map for how to better support New Yorkers who are struggling so that we can stop the senseless tragedies that are impacting far too many families in our community.”
“I commend State Comptroller DiNapoli’s dedication in the fight against opioid abuse,” added Assembly member Charles Lavine. “While I am deeply disturbed by this report showing the worsening of an epidemic which has already claimed the lives of so many Americans, including thousands from here on Long Island, I look forward to working together at the state level to prevent opioid-related overdose deaths.”
Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, Family and Children’s Association President/CEO also added, “Overdoses continue to wreck families and communities across New York, and the recent post-COVID increase in fatalities creates even more urgency that we do more. At the same time, it’s critical that we recognize this crisis has moved steadily into communities of color and future funding decisions should reflect that fact. We are grateful for State Comptroller DiNapoli’s continued focus on New York’s opioid crisis, his thoughtful analysis of the current challenges and his willingness to ensure that prevention, access to treatment and support for people in recovery remains a priority.”