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substance and addiction prevention

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Naloxone and Youth

​Opioid overdose deaths, primarily due to the use of illicitly manufactured fentanyl, have increased significantly in California in recent years, including among teenagers and young adults. 
​Naloxone (available by prescription and sold over-the-counter as NARCAN® Nasal Spray and RiVive™ nasal spray) is a safe and effective medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, including fentanyl overdose. 

Governor Newsom's 2023-24 budget included funding for every middle and high school in California to receive at least two doses of naloxone, and California law expands opioid safety classroom education and requires schools to include opioid overdose response protocols in their safety plans. Parents and other adult caregivers are also strongly encouraged to have open, honest discussions with young people about the potential dangers of illicit drug use.

​There are no age restrictions for receiving naloxone

​Naloxone is a safe and effective medication that can be administered to anyone, regardless of age, in the case of suspected opioid overdose. Naloxone is not a narcotic. It will not harm someone if you give it to them and they are not overdosing on an opioid.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration do not have age limits on who may receive naloxone. The Food and Drug Administration notes that “Naloxone can be administered to people of all ages, so it can also be used for suspected overdose in infants, children, and the elderly.​​
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics' parent information website HealthyChildren.org states, “There is virtually no downside to giving naloxone to a child or teen, even if you are not sure if they overdosed on opioids."​

​Written and video instructions for recognizing and responding to opioid overdose, including how to use naloxone, can be obtained on the California Department of Public Health's (CDPH) Naloxone Webpage.

​​​Anyone can carry naloxone

Some California schools, like the Los Angeles Unified S​chool District, and community youth groups have created naloxone policies in response to increases in opioid overdoses among youth.

The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) Naloxone Distribution Project offers free naloxone to qualified organizations, including schools and universities.

While the Statewide Standing Order for Naloxone is not required for over-the-counter products, and no longer required for participation in the Naloxone Distribution Project, it can provide additional liability protections, see: CA Civil Code Section 1714.22.

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