Portantino’s Opioid Overdose Prevention Bill Goes to Governor

Wednesday, September 13 2023

For Immediate Release: September 13, 2023

Contact: Lerna Shirinian, (818) 409-0400


Portantino’s Opioid Overdose Prevention Bill Goes to Governor

Sacramento, California Senate Bills 234, authored by Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – Burbank), passed the Legislature and is headed to the Governor’s desk. The measure addresses the rise in opioid-related deaths by making opioid antagonists such as Narcan readily available in places accessed by high-risk age groups. Senator Thomas J. Umberg (D-Santa Ana) is a joint author of SB 234.

“It is crucial that we place Narcan in these spaces, given the severe risk posed by our state’s growing opioid crisis. This medication has the potential to save lives,” stated Senator Portantino. “Current law makes it optional to use Narcan for emergency purposes and that’s not sufficient. SB 234 will make it readily available.”

Naloxone (also known as Narcan) is a medication that reverses and blocks the effects of opioids and provides the opportunity for medical personnel to intervene. Administering naloxone does not harm individuals without opioids in their system. Massachusetts saw an 11 percent reduction in over-dose deaths in communities that implemented naloxone distribution programs and a large-scale national study showed that deaths decreased by 14 percent in states after they enacted naloxone access laws, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

“As the former Deputy Drug Czar under President Clinton, I know first-hand the extent to which substance abuse destroys the lives of individuals and their families,” said Senator Thomas J. Umberg (D-Santa Ana), who is a joint author of SB 234. “This anguish is only amplified with the inclusion of fentanyl-laced substances in our drug stream. It’s clear that we have a major epidemic on our hands in California – I’m proud to have worked with Senator Portantino on this measure this year.”

SB 234 would require stadiums, concert venues, and amusement parks to maintain unexpired doses of naloxone hydrochloride on site at all times, and have at least two employees at all times aware of its the location.