Indiana schools deciding if they’ll stock drug antidote

COLUMBUS, Ind. — School districts across Indiana are considering stocking up on a drug antidote amid the state’s opioid epidemic.

While overdoses on public school property aren’t common in the state, districts are still weighing having naloxone because of protections from a new law, The Indianapolis Star reported.

“You can potentially save a life,” said Larry Perkins, student assistance coordinator for Bartholomew Consolidated Schools’ property. “You can also save young people from that trauma of witnessing young people dying in front of them.”

Bartholomew Schools employees have used naloxone twice. In the first instance, the person wasn’t actually overdosing, but in the second, which occurred last fall, it saved a student’s life.

Perkins said districts began discussing carrying naloxone two years ago amid the worsening opioid epidemic. Indiana emergency rooms average of more than 400 overdose visits per week, according to the according to the state Department of Health. More than 600 residents died from opioid overdoses last year.

The epidemic has also led to law enforcement and emergency responders to carry injectable or nasal spray naloxone.

The antidote binds to opioid receptors in the brain, preventing the drugs from binding. It can temporarily reverse an overdose within minutes after being administered.

Under the law, which took effect in July, school districts are allowed to stock naloxone as an “emergency medication,” the same category as albuterol for severe asthma and auto-injectable epinephrine for severe allergies.

The law requires additional training for school nurses and protects schools from some potential liabilities. Districts would have to report to the Department of Education when the drug is used on school property and would have to pay for the drug out of their own budgets.

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Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com