NEW YORK (WWTI) – Governor Hochul signed legislation that will require all public colleges in New York to have a supply of opioid antagonists in their housing facilities, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

Opioid antagonists are lifesaving medicines that rapidly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. In addition to ensuring SUNY and CUNY housing facilities stock the medicine, resident assistants and other designated employees of the colleges will be trained to administer it in the case of overdose emergencies.    

“By signing this legislation, lifesaving overdose prevention medicine will be required in SUNY and CUNY campus housing, as well as trained staff on-site – leading to faster response times and helping prevent needless tragedies,” Governor Hochul said. “My Administration will continue to work every day to fight the opioid epidemic and provide New Yorkers with further access to lifesaving resources, services, and care.”

An estimated 64,000 people last year lost their lives to opioids, according to data provided by the governor’s office. Opioid overdoses have surpassed gun-related murders and car accidents as the leading cause of death for Americans under 50 years old. There were more than 2,900 fatal overdoses in New York State in 2019.

The bill was signed in recognition of Red Ribbon Week, part of the largest drug abuse prevention campaign in the nation. The campaign focuses on educating youth and encouraging participation in drug prevention activities.