HENRY COUNTY, Ind. -- Naloxone is being stocked next to Epi Pens at central Indiana schools.
South Henry School Corporation is the most recent to add the overdose-reversing drug to its list of preventative measures.
The district’s superintendent says there’s never been a need for naloxone at the schools. Despite that, he decided to take AIRES, a local anti-drug organization, up on their offer to provide the drug to the school. AIRES is also working with a public health employee to train school staff on how to use it.
“They don’t have time, often, to get somebody like a deputy to come in,” said Olene Veach, who works with AIRES as an education coordinator in the Henry County Sheriff’s Office. “It’s about timing there, so it’s important that they have it on hand if they need it.”
Veach points out that several schools are far away from where naloxone is stored at the sheriff’s office. If the school’s resource officer, who keeps naloxone in his squad car, is not around, it could be a lengthy wait for the life-saving drug.
Veach decided to push for local schools to have naloxone after seeing a FOX59 report about an incident in a Bartholomew County school in which Narcan, the brand-name version of naloxone, was used to save a suicidal student.
“It’s real easy to say, ‘We don’t have that problem; we don’t need it,’” said Veach. “Because as long as you don’t acknowledge that you have it, you don’t have to deal with it.”
The superintendent agreed with that line of thinking, saying even though their first priority is educating kids, they know social problems outside of the building sometimes spill in.
“Hopefully we’ll never need it, but if we do, it’s here,” says superintendent Wes Hammond. “It’s kind of like keeping EpiPens at schools for students who have allergies. It’s just a precautionary measure.”
Veach hopes having naloxone in schools will also push people to admit how needed drug awareness education is in both the city and the county.
“Drugs are not particular to a zip code or an age group or a school system,” said Veach. “They’re everywhere and we have to realize it.”
South Henry School Corporation will not be alone in central Indiana. Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation now keeps naloxone at all of its schools.
Veach believes it’s something every school in Indiana should consider doing.