A successful tool in dealing with opioid overdoses is the drug naloxone. Naloxone has few known adverse effects, no potential for abuse, and can be rapidly administered by injection or nasal spray. It works almost immediately to reverse opiate overdose.
San Francisco’s main library began distributing naloxone to its employees and training them on how to administer the drug after a visitor to the library suffered a fatal opioid-related overdose in June 2017.
The California State Health Officer has now issued a standing order that allows libraries and other community organizations that aren’t currently working with a physician to obtain and “distribute naloxone to a person at risk of an opioid-related overdose or to a family member, friend, or other person in a position to assist; and allow for the administration of naloxone by a family member, friend, or other person to a person experiencing or reasonably suspected of experiencing an opioid overdose.”
“People can overdose anywhere, if it happens in the library, librarians are there, they are first on the scene before emergency responders so it makes sense that we would have it,” Kelley Trahan, a San Francisco librarian told ABC 7 News in 2017.
Below is more information on the standing order and links on how public libraries can request naloxone from the state as well as training videos on administering naloxone.
Stop Opioid Overdose with Naloxone
- New! Narcan available at no cost to qualified organizations.
- California Department of Public Health
California Standing Order for Naloxone
Karen Smith, MD, MPH, director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), has issued a standing order for naloxone. This order serves as a prescription for all community organizations — including libraries — that wish to dispense naloxone. Learn more and complete the application.
- CDPH Naloxone Grant Program
Naloxone Training Resources; Standing Order examples (editable)
- Stop Overdose
Training videos on recognizing signs of an overdose and how to give naloxone. Maintained by the Center for Opioid Safety Education at the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute.
More Resources on Opioid and Heroin Abuse Prevention
- Opioids Abuse Prevention Resources
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- Libraries and the Opioid Crisis Facebook page
- Opioid Crisis: Libraries, Resources, Context, and Data