FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A new California law aims to protect college students across the state from accidental overdoses. SB 367 will require colleges to distribute Narcan and provide training on how to use it.
Central Valley Senator Melissa Hurtado says she introduced the bill after seeing the high number of deaths from overdoses, especially among young adults.
The bill was just signed by Gov. Newsom last month and colleges are already taking action to implement the necessary changes.
"These students have a whole future ahead of them, a future to look forward to and whatever issue could be going on that leads to an overdose, we want to prevent that," said California State Senator Melissa Hurtado.
As the youngest state senator in California, Hurtado says it's her passion for youth and concerns about the rise in fentanyl use that inspired SB 367.
"We know there's a lot more overdoses occurring, and I think we've got to do the most we can to save lives across campuses," said Hurtado.
The Campus Opioid Safety Act requires California colleges to distribute Narcan, an opioid reversal medication, and provide training in campus orientation materials. It's given as a nasal spray.
"The whole point of getting Narcan out there is to make sure it saves lives and if someone is not trained to use the tool as intended, then there's no point in it," added Hurtado.
Leaders at Fresno State say they're eager to implement the changes.
"When I heard about it, I thought it was a great opportunity for us to educate our students and work in a preventative manner," Fresno State Director of Medical Services Robert Mitchell.
The exact timing and methods are still being worked out, but they say the education component will happen during student orientation.
Regardless of the timing, the goal is to save lives across college campuses.
"They have a bright future and I want to make sure the campuses are prepared and ready to go in case that happens," said Hurtado.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has set aside $50 million this year towards educating young people on the risks of opioids. It's part of his $286.4 billion budget for the fiscal year.