November 9, 2023
To: USC Students, Faculty and Staff
Re: Naloxone and Drug Take Back Day
Fr: Sarah Van Orman, MD MMM FACHA; Vice President and Chief Campus Health Officer of USC; Division Chief for College Health, Keck School of Medicine of USC
As many are already aware, our nation continues to see an upward trend in drug-involved overdoses, many involving opioids, either shared or sold outside of prescribed medications dispensed by pharmacists.
Locally, California and Los Angeles County are responding to the continuing dangers of fentanyl that continue as part of this public health problem.
A vital tool in saving lives and promoting safety in our communities is increasing the availability and accessibility of naloxone, known commercially in its nasal spray formulation as Narcan®. It is available to our communities in the following ways.
Over-the-counter direct purchase (without insurance, no paperwork). Narcan® is available to you without a prescription, as it was approved for over the counter (OTC) use earlier this year. You may obtain it by purchasing it at any retailer carrying it (such as the USC Pharmacies), including the soon-to-be installed pharmaceutical supply vending machines in the Royal Street Parking Structure and the USC Village (plaza level, near the parking elevators). These machines are accessible 24/7. The cost is $44.99.
Using your insurance: SHIP/Aetna Student Insurance ($0 copay), or USC PPO/EPO employee health plans ($5 copay). The USC Pharmacies have a standing physician’s order from USC Student Health for all USC students to obtain Narcan®. Using the SHIP/Aetna plan, the copay is $0. For non-students, it is also available as a prescribed medication through a pharmacist consultation. For faculty and staff, as a prescribed medication, it is covered by the USC PPO/EPO employee health plans at $5 copay. Pharmacists will prepare instructional materials in dispensing this medication, there may be wait times during busy periods for dispensing.
No cost, no paperwork. The grant-funded Naloxone SC program, through the USC Mann School student chapter of the American Association of Psychiatric Pharmacists (AAPP), provides free twin packs of Narcan®, distributed at campus Farmer’s Market and at first-floor pickup areas in the Engemann and Eric Cohen student health centers. Available on a first-come, first-served basis when supplies are available.
Carrying Narcan® when going out, especially to public places where there are many people, can save lives. Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers routinely carry Narcan® as part of their role as emergency first responders.
If you are evaluating the role that substances play in your life, talking to a health provider can provide a helpful starting point.
For students, reaching out to USC Student Health providers—sending a private, secure message to the Advice Nurse; making an appointment with a mental health provider; or calling 213-740-9355 (WELL)—are ways to start getting help. Conversations with your health care provider are confidential and protected by patient privacy laws.
For employees seeking consultation, a conversation with your health care provider, accessing programs through the USC PPO/EPO health plans (including LiveHealth Online and Lyra Behavioral Health services); or contacting the WorkWell Center may be helpful to you.
Drug Take Back Day
On November 16, USC Pharmacies will be running the Fall Drug Take Back Day, where students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to drop off unused drugs that they no longer intend to use. Locked drop boxes are available at The USC Health Center Pharmacy (Jefferson Parking Structure, UPC); USC Medical Plaza Pharmacy (HCC1 first floor, HSC); and USC Verdugo Hills Professional Pharmacy (first floor of 1808 Verdugo Boulevard, Glendale). Drugs may be dropped off for safe discarding, no questions asked (non-capped syringe medications excluded).
We encourage our community to share these resources, consider carrying Narcan when going out, and safely discard unwanted drugs.