Sacramento – Senator Richard D. Roth’s (D-Riverside) Senate Bill (SB) 641 to fight California’s fentanyl crisis has passed both houses of the California Legislature and is heading to the Governor’s desk.
“California’s fentanyl epidemic demands a comprehensive, every-tool-in-the-toolbelt approach. This plague is killing our kids, and we must urgently treat this problem. That’s why I authored Senate Bill 641 to ensure that California’s Naloxone Distribution Project makes all FDA-approved opioid reversal tools available to law enforcement, first responders, community organizations, schools, and local health agencies,” said Roth. “I am heartened at the overwhelming support this legislation has received from my colleagues in both houses of the Legislature, and I thank them for it.”
According to a Sacramento advocacy group, drug overdoses in California now kill more than twice as many people as car accidents. The state’s overdose surveillance dashboard indicates most opioid overdose deaths involve fentanyl.
The Roth bill is poised to make a profound impact in the fight against opioid overdose deaths by guaranteeing free access to all FDA-approved formulations and dosage strengths of naloxone, such as Narcan, for schools, local health agencies, law enforcement, first responders, and community organizations throughout California. This critical initiative, overseen by the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) through the Naloxone Distribution Project (NDP), will save countless lives.
“We thank Senator Roth for his courage and leadership on this issue and applaud the Legislature for their decisive approval of SB 641, which will expand access to life-saving naloxone products and help combat California’s devastating opioid epidemic,” said Robb Layne, Executive Director of The California Association of Alcohol and Drug Program Executives.
Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco adds, “I applaud Senator Roth’s initiative to equip our state’s law enforcement agencies with additional overdose-reversal tools. Riverside County has had over 1,000 deaths from opioid overdoses within the last two years, a majority stemming from fentanyl. Late last year, after several failed attempts to get the state’s NDP to supply our deputies with additional life-saving tools, I authorized our deputies to administer an FDA-approved 8mg Naloxone product. Our deputies have used this product over 45 times, and the recipient survived in all cases. It is time for the state’s NDP to recognize that as synthetic opioids evolve and become more potent, so must our state’s response. I am proud to sponsor SB641, which will equip our first responders with additional tools to curb this deadly trend.”