Naloxone Grant Program
Senate Bill (SB) 833 (Chapter 30, Statutes of 2016) established a new Naloxone Grant Program within the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) with the goal of reducing the number of fatal overdoses in California from opioid drugs, including prescription opioids and heroin, by increasing access to the life-saving drug naloxone. A total of $3 million was allocated on a one-time basis to support this program. The Naloxone Grant Program is administered by the Safe and Active Communities Branch (SACB).
Drug overdose (poisoning) is the leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States, causing more deaths than motor vehicle crashes. Opioids – both prescription painkillers and heroin – are responsible for most of those deaths. The number of Californians affected by prescription and non-prescription opioid misuse and overdose is substantial, with rates varying significantly across counties, and even within counties.
Naloxone is a medication that works almost immediately to reverse opiate overdose. Naloxone is currently a prescription drug, but is not a controlled substance. It has few known adverse effects, no potential for abuse, and can be rapidly administered through intramuscular injection or nasal spray. While most professional first responders and emergency departments are equipped with naloxone, emergency service providers may not arrive in time to revive overdose victims. Trained and equipped bystanders such as friends, family and other non-health care providers (lay people) and drug users themselves can effectively respond and reverse an opioid overdose. Given the success of bystander naloxone programs, the CDC and the World Health Organization have recommended expanding the availability of naloxone to lay people. For more information on understanding how naloxone works, visit the Harm Reduction Coalition website (http://harmreduction.org/issues/overdose-prevention/overview/overdose-basics/understanding-naloxone/).
Naloxone Distribution Systems: 1) work under a standing order from a licensed clinician/medical director; 2) have staff that are trained (or are trained to provide education to others) on overdose prevention techniques, how to recognize an opioid overdose (signs and symptoms), how to respond by calling 911 and providing rescue breathing, naloxone storage and administration, and post-overdose care; 3) dispense naloxone products; and, 4) document distribution efforts.
Laws are currently in place that support making naloxone more readily available. For example, California Civil Code Section 1714.22 (Statutes of 2013, Chapter 707, Sec. 1) eliminates civil and criminal liability for: 1) licensed health care providers that prescribe naloxone and issue standing orders for the distribution of naloxone, and 2) individuals that administer naloxone to someone suspected of experiencing an overdose after receiving it along with required training. This law took effect on January 1, 2014.
Request for Applications (RFA) #16-10967: Naloxone Distribution Projects
SACB released a non-competitive RFA on March 27, 2017, offering grants of naloxone product (Narcan nasal spray) and funding to all 61 local health departments (LHDs) to conduct Naloxone Distribution Projects. LHDs will provide Narcan to local programs, agencies and community-based organizations (local entities) within their jurisdictions that have naloxone distribution systems and are in the best position to save lives from opioid overdose. For information regarding this RFA, please see below.