R.I. schools re­quired to stock heroin over­dose treat­ment

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS -

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.

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