For Immediate Release

Contact: Andrea E. Garcia, Touro University California
Associate Vice President, University Advancement

W: (707) 638-5272
C: (707) 280-8771
andrea.garcia@tu.edu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 22, 2020

Drug Safe Solano Members Establish Give Life a Chance Program to Increase Accessibility to Life Saving Opioid Overdose Medication

Solano County’s first major joint effort between law enforcement and professional services seeks to reduce the number of opioid overdose related deaths in low income communities

Vallejo, Calif. (April 22, 2020): The Solano County Sherriff’s Office and Mercury Pharmacy, both members of Touro University California’s Drug Safe Solano program, are proud to announce the launch of the Give Life a Chance naloxone (also known as Narcan) distribution program this summer, which will increase the availability and ease of access of Narcan – a life-saving medication that quickly reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. As Solano County’s first major joint effort between law enforcement services and professional social services, the Give Life a Chance has great promise to save lives while reducing negative public conceptions about opioid misuse and opening the doorway for future multidisciplinary efforts.  

“It is with great hope that Narcan will be accessible to those in need, so that anyone in the community may one day save a life,” said Lt. Swafford of the Solano County Sherriff’s Office. 

In 2018, over 7,500 people were found suffering from opioid use disorder in Solano County with over two-thirds lacking access to treatment. Currently, Narcan is only available to those who have a referral from a healthcare provider. Through the Give Life a Chance program, Narcan will be readily available to low income community members for free at Mercury Pharmacy locations in Fairfield and Vallejo. By increasing the number of individuals who have access to this medication, the program seeks to enable the timely administration of Narcan to save even more lives in the community. 

Since its founding in September 2018, Drug Safe Solano – a coalition of healthcare, law enforcement, public health and community stakeholders promoting opioid safety and harm reduction – has made notable progress in combating the opioid crisis. One of the coalition’s most successful strategies has been the provision of Narcan to Solano County law enforcement, which saved over 12 lives early last year. The Give Life a Chance program is an extension of that strategy into the larger community.   

“We’re excited to see our partners in Drug Safe Solano create and implement new ways to tackle the opioid crisis in Solano County,” said Sarah Sweitzer, PhD, Provost and Chief Academic Officer. “Through programs such as Give Life a Chance, we’re getting live-saving medication out into communities to allow for timely administration to those suffering from an overdose.  This program will help save lives and ultimately become a model for others to use throughout the state and country. And it falls in line with Touro’s mission To Serve, To Lead, To Teach.”  

Drug Safe Solano: Drug Safe Solano (DSS) was founded in the fall of 2018 with a generous grant from MedMark Treatment Centers in Fairfield, CA. It brings together a motivated multidisciplinary team to address opioid addiction issues in our community. Strategies are currently in development to improve opioid addiction, prevention, safety and treatment efforts. In August 2019, DSS moved from the Solano County Coalition for Better Health to Touro University California (TUC). The transition of DSS to TUC is in alignment with the TUC mission to train primary care providers that serve in underserved communities with a foundation in social justice. To learn more, visit drugsafesolano.org or call 707-638-5989.

About the Touro College and University System:

Touro is a system of non-profit institutions of higher and professional education. Touro College was chartered in 1970 primarily to enrich the Jewish heritage, and to serve the larger American and global community. Approximately 18,000 students are currently enrolled in its various schools and divisions. Touro has 35 campuses and locations in New York, California, Nevada, Illinois, Berlin, Jerusalem and Moscow. New York Medical College; Touro University California and Touro University Nevada; Touro University Worldwide and its Touro College Los Angeles division; as well as Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Ill. are separately accredited institutions within the Touro College and University System. For further information on Touro College, please go to: www.touro.edu/news