Bill to put Narcan on public school campuses across Texas heads to Gov. Abbott’s desk

AUSTINNarcan access could soon be available at all Texas public schools with students in grades 6 through 12.

Senate Bill 629, authored by state Sen. Jose Menendez, D-San Antonio, would require Texas public school districts “to adopt and implement a policy regarding the maintenance, administration, and disposal of opioid antagonists (like Narcan) at each campus in the district that serves students in grades 6 through 12,” according to a bill analysis.

“Expanding Narcan access is one step toward addressing teen overdose deaths in Texas,“ said state Rep. James Talarico, a Round Rock Democrat and former teacher who authored the House companion bill. ”We must also fund substance abuse treatment and mental health care—but kids can’t get the help they need if they’re no longer with us.”

The measure passed both the House and the Senate with only one lawmaker voting against it: ex-state Rep. Bryan Slaton, who was expelled from the House weeks later.

The bill received final approval on May 25 and is headed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk.

Abbott will have until June 18 to sign or veto bills. If signed, SB 629 will become law immediately.

The bill is a response to a growing number of youth overdose deaths on Texas public school campuses. Nationwide, those deaths have “increased 182% since 2019,” Talarico’s press release said.

As an opioid antagonist medication, Narcan can reverse an overdose in a matter of minutes.

Abbott expressed Narcan access as an “emergency item” at the beginning of the session.

Narcan, a nasal spray, can reverse an overdose in a matter of minutes and help schools save lives, supporters say.

“Some politicians use the fentanyl crisis to fearmonger instead of taking real action — but our bill to put Narcan on every Texas school campus will actually save lives,” Rep. Talarico said.

San Antonio area school districts are already fighting fentanyl.

As of October 2022, at least four school districts and three colleges had Narcan access available on their campuses, according to a KSAT analysis.

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