Ohio expands overdose reversal program to private colleges, universities

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(The Center Square) – Ohio plans to expand a program to provide emergency naloxone access to private colleges and universities around the state.

The state established a program in 2020 to provide naloxone cabinets to public colleges and universities. Now, private institutions that want them will get the availability along with fentanyl testing strips.

“Expanding access to these valuable, lifesaving tools allows every life saved another opportunity to experience recovery,” Gov. Mike DeWine said. “Protecting students from potentially deadly drug overdoses is an important part of our commitment to safer college and university campuses.”

A request for taxpayer costs to expand the program was not immediately filled.

Though the Legislature created the program in 2020, the first emergency access cabinets did not go to public schools until this year. Each school could receive up to five cabinets.

Also, in April, a new law clarified that fentanyl test strips are not illegal drug paraphernalia.

Like a wall-mounted AED machine, the cabinets contain doses of naloxone and can be installed in public places across campus.

Naloxone, when given during an opioid overdose, blocks the effects of opioids on the brain and quickly restores breathing.

“The DeWine-Husted administration continues to demonstrate its dedication to campus safety,” Department of Higher Education Chancellor Randy Gardner said. “I’m pleased to be able to partner with RecoveryOhio, as well as the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, to expand this collaboration and include the fentanyl testing strips to further enhance safety on all of our college campuses.”

The program is voluntary, but the state recommends each institution that receives an emergency access cabinet create a policy establishing how often each box shall be reviewed and restocked.

“We know the drug epidemic has impacted Ohioans across the State and that no community is immune. We want to ensure that all Ohioans have access to naloxone when and where they need it,” said Aimee Shadwick, RecoveryOhio director.

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