R.I. schools required to stock heroin overdose treatment
In addition to pencils, books and computers, count a new tool this year at many schools around the country: the heroin-overdose antidote naloxone.
Many schools now keep naloxone on hand, and some states allow or encourage schools to stock it. Rhode Island now requires it for all middle, junior high and high schools.
The drug may never be needed in an individual school, nurses say, but it can save a life if a child, parent or school employee overdoses on heroin or prescription painkillers.
The National Association of School Nurses is pushing all schools to keep the antidote on hand. “We’re facing an epidemic,” said Beth Mattey, president of the group. “People are dying from drug overdoses, opioid drug overdoses. We need to be able to address the emergency.”
A survey of 81 Rhode Island school nurses who participated in a naloxone training program last year found that 43% of high school nurses who responded said students in their schools were abusing opioids.