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Narcan, fentanyl test strips now available through UHS

A white truck with the words "public safety" painted on its side is parked in front of McCosh Health Center, a red brick building, in the early evening.
A Public Safety truck parked in front of McCosh Health Center.
Louisa Gheorghita / The Daily Princetonian

Content Warning: The following article includes mention of student death. University Counseling services are available at 609-258-3141, and the Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 988 or +1 (800) 273-TALK (8255). A Crisis Text Line is also available in the United States; text HOME to 741741. Students can contact residential college staff and the Office of Religious Life for other support and resources.

McCosh Health Center has begun offering fentanyl test strips and the opioid overdose reversal drug Narcan for students, according to a Jan. 30 email from University Health Services (UHS). These overdose prevention tools are now available for anyone 24-7 inside the McCosh vestibule. Previously, students could sign up to have Narcan and fentanyl test kits delivered to their Frist mailbox.


The effects of the nationwide opioid epidemic have touched the Princeton community following the tragic passing of graduate student Maura Coursey in January 2023. Coursey passed away off-campus from an accidental overdose of synthetic opioids.

It is unclear whether or not the University policy was enacted in response to Coursey’s passing. Kathy Wagner, the associate director of Health Promotion and Prevention Services at Princeton, wrote in a statement to the Daily Princetonian, “At University Health Services, we stay abreast of public health issues that may impact our students and work to ensure the health and well-being of our students.” Fentanyl overdose is now the leading cause of death for Americans from ages 18 to 45.

Naloxone is a drug that blocks the effects of opiates on the brain and temporarily restores breathing function in people who have taken harmful opiate doses. Narcan is a brand name for naloxone. Naloxone is not harmful to take even if one is not overdosing, but it does not do anything to help prevent harmful effects of non-opiate drugs. Fentanyl test strips allow for detecting the presence of fentanyl, a highly potent synthetic opioid, in other substances.

According to Wagner, this is not the University’s first overdose prevention policy.

“In [July] 2023, the State of New Jersey included institutions of higher education in their Naloxone Direct Program enabling distribution of Narcan® on campuses throughout the state. Once Narcan® was made available to us through the State, we began distribution of opioid harm reduction materials to anyone who requested them,” Wagner wrote in a statement to the ‘Prince.’

The University also held a Wintersession workshop about opioid overdose prevention, which included training on the use of naloxone and fentanyl test strips. Students can schedule workshops to learn how to use Narcan and fentanyl test strips by contacting Wagner or UHS.


Meghana Veldhuis is an assistant News editor at the ‘Prince.’

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