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L.A. County libraries could soon supply naloxone for reversing overdoses

Los Angeles County libraries could supply the overdose reversal drug naloxone and teach librarians how to administer the lifesaving medication under a proposal unanimously approved Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors.

Along with supplying and administering doses of naloxone, often sold as a nasal spray under the brand name Narcan, the motion also directs county health officials to explore making public libraries distribution sites where residents can pick up doses of the medication to keep on hand.

“Opioid deaths and fentanyl poisonings are on the rise, and we should make sure Narcan is at our county libraries where so many young people spend time after school,” Supervisor Janice Hahn, who introduced the motion, said in a statement. “Parents are scared and want to know where they can get Narcan to keep in case of an emergency, so I want to explore making our libraries Narcan kit distribution sites.”

The board also approved a separate motion, introduced by Supervisor Hilda Solis, that directs county health and education agencies to develop outreach toolkits using “traditional and social media, as well as engaging with ethnic and local media for culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach,” to better educate students, parents and others about the dangers of overdoses and where to find naloxone.

The moves follow a string of overdoses in recent months in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Since September, at least nine teenagers overdosed from pills potentially laced with the synthetic opioid fentanyl — including 15-year-old Bernstein High School student Melanie Ramos, who died.

On Sept. 22, L.A. schools Supt. Alberto Carvalho announced that the district would provide naloxone to all 1,400 public schools as part of L.A. Unified’s anti-drug strategy.

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