Schools will have nalox­one on hand in case of opioid over­dose

Nalox­one will be avail­able at all school sites

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By JAC­QUI ATKIELSKI jatkiel­ski@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @Jac­quiEn­tNews

Dur­ing the first read­ing of a new school pol­icy this week, St. Mary’s school board mem­bers hashed out how staff are pre­par­ing to treat po­ten­tial opioid over­doses on school grounds.

Spurred by Mary­land’s Heroin and Opioid Ed­u­ca­tion and Com­mu­nity Ac­tion Act of 2017, the law re­quires school boards to have a pol­icy in place re­gard­ing ed­u­ca­tion about opi­oids, as well as be­ing ready to re­spond to over­dose in­ci­dents.

The draft school pol­icy states that staff are to have nalox­one at all schools to treat stu­dents or any­one else on school grounds who is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing an over­dose.

A por­tion of the draft pol­icy states par­ents will be no­ti­fied of the pol­icy through the stu­dent hand­book.

Board mem­ber Rita Weaver, who has worked as a nurse, asked if the med­i­ca­tion would only be avail­able at the high schools.

Pa­tri­cia Wince, pub­lic schools’ su­per­vi­sor of school nurses, said two packs of nalox­one would be avail­able at ev­ery pub­lic school, in­clud­ing el­e­men­tary and mid­dle schools.

When the med­i­ca­tion is within three months of ex­pir­ing, Wince said “we will give [those] to the health depart­ment to be given to the sher­iff’s of­fice” to be used in the com­mu­nity.

“Trag­i­cally,” Su­per­in­ten­dent Scott Smith said.

Wince said her staff have been trained to prop­erly ad­min­is­ter nalox­one, and school staff can vol­un­teer to be trained by school nurses.

“We’re slowly build­ing the num­ber of staff” who could re­spond to an opioid over­dose, she said.

Board mem­ber Jim Davis asked if the dosage amount can be al­tered, or if there is po­ten­tial to mis­use the nalox­one.

Wince said users can’t al­ter the dosage, and the ap­pli­ca­tor can “only give that ex­act dosage.”

Board mem­ber Cathy Allen, who also used to work as a nurse, said nalox­one is “rel­a­tively be­nign” if used on some­one who isn’t ex­pe­ri­enc­ing an over­dose.

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