NaloxoneSC is an online naloxone distribution program at the University of Southern California that was founded by a registered pharmacist and pharmacy students from the American Association of Psychiatric Pharmacists, or AAPP USC.

The Opioid Epidemic

More than one million people have died since 1999 from a drug overdose. In 2021, 106,699 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States. Opioids were involved in 80,411 overdose deaths in 2021 (75.4% of all drug overdose deaths). 

According to preliminary data released by the California Department of Public Health, LA County experienced 1,472 deaths from opioid-related overdoses in the 12-month period ending in September 2021, 1,264 of which were related to fentanyl.

With fentanyl finding its way into various supplies of illicitly-manufactured substances across the nation, individuals besides primarily opioid users are at increased risk of overdose. USC students are a very high-risk group in particular as 45% of college students reported using an illicit drug in 2018 according to a national survey.

What Is Naloxone?

Naloxone, also known as Narcan®,  is a life-saving medication that rapidly reverses the effects of opioids in the event of an opioid overdose.

Rationale for NaloxoneSC

Given the steep rise in opioid overdoses nationwide and the increasing number of opioid overdose deaths on college campuses overall, prescription- or pharmacy-based naloxone provides insufficient means for individuals and family members to obtain naloxone. It is not uncommon for healthcare providers to fail to diagnose substance use disorder, one of the most stigmatized conditions in the world, in their patients. This issue is exacerbated by patients’ unwillingness to disclose the details of their substance use as a result of society-imposed stigmas.

University of Southern California (USC) had a few notable overdoses in 2019 and the university has taken steps to address access to counselors and other resources for students. However, some students who may be at risk of opioid overdose do not utilize these resources either due to stigma, cost, or lack of knowledge about harm reduction, including naloxone use.

In a coordinated effort to increase awareness of these issues, expand access to naloxone, and encourage the use of harm reduction resources through student-to-student education, NaloxoneSC came about. 


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Overdose Deaths in 2021 Increased Half as Much as in 2020 – But Are Still Up 15%. News release. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Updated May 11, 2022. Accessed June 7, 2022.,in%202021%20compared%20to%202020.
  2. Ahmad FB, Rossen LM, Sutton P. Provisional Drug Overdose Death Counts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Published 2022. Accessed June 7th, 2022.
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