SACRAMENTO—California Community Colleges and California State Universities will be required to stock fentanyl test strips at the campus health center and provide information about how to use the strips under legislation authored by Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-San Bernardino) and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The bill, AB 461, also requests that the Regents of the University of California comply with these requirements.
Ramos said, “This is a bill aimed at saving student lives and reducing the skyrocketing number of opioid fatalities among our young people. One out of every five California youths aged 15 to 24 who died in 2021 were killed by a fentanyl overdose – either through the actual fentanyl use or by consuming another drug laced with fentanyl. The strips will prevent inadvertent taking of this lethal poison and assist in keeping students safe.” Ramos is a member of the Assembly Select Committee on Fentanyl, Opioid Addiction, and Overdose Prevention and the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services.
Ashlyn Bautista, Executive Chief of Communications at Generation Up (GENup) said, “As a proud principal sponsor of AB 461, we at GENup want to thank Assemblymember Ramos and Governor Newsom for prioritizing campus safety and for emphasizing the importance of accessible and equitable harm reduction. As someone who has seen and felt the impacts of drug addiction, I believe that AB 461 is essential for promoting harm reduction and knowledge rather than creating a stigma around addiction or needing aid. Overdose is a preventable cause of death. I hope that with access and information to harm reduction resources on college campuses, we can save thousands of students' lives and prevent them from feeling the heartbreaking loss I had experienced. As students, we at GENup want to thank Governor Newsom for signing AB 461 into law to ensure that all students are able to grow in a community that values their lives and takes action for their safety.”
A partial list of AB 461 supporters includes the University of California Student Association, University of Davis chapter of California Associated Students, California Academy of Family Physicians; California Association of Christian Colleges and Universities, California Youth Empowerment Network, California Emergency Nurses Association, Faculty Association of California Community Colleges, National Association of Social Workers, National Harm Reduction Coalition, Prosecutors Alliance, Rancho Santiago Community College District, Sister Warriors Freedom Coalition and the Steinberg Institute.
Assemblymember James C. Ramos proudly represents the 45th Assembly district which includes Fontana, Highland, Mentone, Redlands, Rialto and San Bernardino. He is the first and only California Native American serving in the state’s legislature. Ramos chairs the Assembly Committees on Rules.