By Kailee Santiago and Daisette Verdin, Nov. 14, 2023
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Oct. 8 requiring all California State Universities to provide fentanyl testing strips on campus.
The California Assembly Bill 461 requires every CSU health center to stock and distribute fentanyl testing strips. Alongside every kit, there will be instructions on how to use the test strips as well as information about opioids. The testing strips will allow students to detect the presence of fentanyl in different kinds of drugs preventing overdose.
“It is a harm reduction strategy,” said Andrea Lueskow, a Student Health and Wellness Services health educator. “Using FTS can detect the presence of fentanyl in drug samples which can help to reduce the risk of overdose.”
The new bill will add on to the opioid resources the campus already provides. In January a bill passed to allow campuses to carry Narcan, which is an over-the-counter opioid overdose treatment.
Narcan is also located at different buildings throughout campus in case of a drug emergency. Those buildings include the BRIC, the Care Center, University Library and many other locations. A list of all locations can be found on the Cal Poly Pomona website.
Students can request the strips or the Narcan on the Bronco Wellness page where they will fill out a form requesting the items. The students will then be directed by email to pick up their products from the Student Health and Wellness Center.
The Bronco Wellness Center has been providing information about harm reduction strategies associated with drug use. It wasn’t until the spring 2023 semester fentanyl testing strips were offered to students on campus.
Providing the FTS and the Narcan to the CPP campus and other CSU’s will help in aiding the fentanyl crisis that has been taking place in numerous states and cities.
In Los Angeles County alone, the number of fentanyl deaths is on the rise. The number of deaths increased 1,280% from 2016 to 2021, according to LA County Public Health. Nearly 6,000 Californians died from fentanyl in 2021, and 230 of those were teenagers who were 15 to 19 years old.
“The FTS and Narcan are products that students and faculty should have on them at all times,” said ethnic studies student Marilyn Leiva. “Seeing the many families losing loved ones because of the fentanyl epidemic is heartbreaking, so having these items will definitely make a change in the community.”
The Health and Wellness Center acquired the FTS by a simple purchase from a company called, DanceSafe, a 501(c)(3) public health non-profit that promotes health and safety in the electronic music and nightlife communities.
Kenya Rampersant, senior coordinator for health promotion and wellness, said the campus utilizes the department’s funds to purchase the testing strips.
The campus has many resources students are able to utilize to be educated on opioids, harm reduction, health education and other services. If students are reaching out for more information, they can visit the Health and Wellness Services to be informed on these topics.
“Be mindful of the resources and visit the Bronco Wellness Center if you are wanting to learn, be educated and need more information on drug resources,” said Rampersant.
For more information on drug resources or FTS, visit the Bronco Wellness Center or Student Health and Wellness Services on campus at the Student Health Services building