Governor Hochul Signs Legislation to Prevent Opioid Overdoses on College Campuses in Recognition of Red Ribbon Week

Legislation (S.3448A/A.4485B) requires campuses to carry lifesaving opioid antagonist medications in housing units, as well as training resident assistants to administer during overdose emergencies

In recognition of Red Ribbon Week, Governor Hochul today signed legislation (S.3448A/A.4485B) that will require all public colleges in New York to have a supply of opioid antagonists in their housing facilities. Opioid antagonists, such as Naloxone, are lifesaving medicines which reverse the fatal effects of an opioid overdose. In addition to ensuring all State University of New York and City University of New York owned or operated housing facilities stock this vital medicine, resident assistants and other designated employees of the colleges will be trained to administer these antagonists in the case of overdose emergencies.

"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," Governor Hochul said. "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."

This bill comes in response to the ongoing opioid epidemic crisis. Opioid overdoses have surpassed gun-related murders and car accidents as the leading cause of death for Americans under 50 years old, with as many as 64,000 people last year estimated to have lost their lives. New York State is no exception to this crisis, experiencing over 2,939 fatally overdosed in 2019.

The risk of overdose deaths have continued to be high among all demographic groups and among residents of almost every New York City neighborhood. By having on-site opioid antagonists in schools and trained resident assistants capable of administering these antigens, these lifesaving medications are a commonsense solution to preventing more overdose-related fatalities.

State Senator Michelle Hinchey said, "Every second counts during an opioid overdose, and by requiring Narcan in all SUNY and CUNY housing, with trained student RAs on standby, we will save more young lives and transform on-campus safety. I'm incredibly proud to sponsor this legislation which will help us fight the opioid epidemic from every angle, saving lives, and I thank the Governor for signing it into law."

Assemblymember Daniel O'Donnell said, "All across New York, the opioid epidemic continues to threaten and upend communities. We cannot and will not give up on the fight to save lives and stand by those who are struggling with addiction. I am deeply proud to be working with Governor Hochul, Sen. Hinchey, and educational leaders across our state to ensure that we are equipped with the tools and knowledge to prevent overdoses when and where they are happening."

This signing is in recognition of Red Ribbon Week, part of the largest drug-abuse prevention campaign in the United States. The Red Ribbon Campaign serves to mobilize communities to educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities. Since that time, the campaign has reached millions of U.S. children and families in its effort to keep communities safe, healthy and drug-free, through parent training, networking.