Survey finds few college students know how to administer naloxone

A recent survey of U.S. college students published in JAMA Pediatrics found that while more than half of the students surveyed could correctly identify the signs of an opioid overdose and expressed a willingness to intervene, just one in seven students knew how to administer naloxone. While there is limited conversation about this study on social media, its findings have been covered by multiple news outlets.

Recommendation: These findings indicate that young adults lack an understanding of how to use naloxone. This has prompted concern in the media, as fentanyl-related fatal overdoses nearly tripled among adolescents between 2019 and 2021. Ensuring that informational materials, especially on websites and in toolkits for community-based organizations serving young adults, include clear instructions on when and how to use naloxone is recommended. Messaging may emphasize that using naloxone—often sold under the brand name “Narcan”—is the only way to reverse an opioid overdose. Trending conversations about naloxone also provide an opportunity to push out messaging to young adults that outlines the signs of opioid overdose.