Narcan Policies and Procedures for Schools

The opioid epidemic in the U.S. has led to tens of thousands of deaths, and it’s not showing signs of slowing its severity and reach. If anything, the opioid epidemic across the country continues to get worse.

Narcan in Schools | Narcan Policy and Procedure for Schools
What’s different about opioids including heroin and prescription pain relievers, is the fact that the abuse of these drugs isn’t limited to one geographic area or one particular demographic. It’s affected people across the country, young and old, in cities, suburbs and rural areas, and rich and poor.

It’s become such a staggering problem that lawmakers and public officials are at a loss for what to do to curb it. One thing that doesn’t treat the root of the epidemic but can save lives is a drug called Narcan. Narcan is a prescription, brand name nasal spray with the active generic ingredient naloxone.

Narcan saves lives by reversing the effects of an opioid overdose when administered quickly. It is classified as an opioid antagonist, so it stops an overdose that’s occurring. While it is technically a prescription medication, most states have loosened restrictions surrounding its availability. It can be purchased over-the-counter in most cases and is also distributed by community organizations.

The use of Narcan in school has also become more common in many states.

States like New York have school nurses stock Narcan just as they do with other common medications like EpiPens. Some cities, such as New Rochelle in New York, require that all schools including elementary schools have Narcan on hand.

New York isn’t the only state where Narcan in schools is available. Narcan policy and procedures for schools extend to Massachusetts, Kentucky, Connecticut and New Mexico.

The state of New York has a program that provides it free to schools, and in Rhode Island, every middle school, junior high and high school must have Narcan or generic naloxone on-hand. There are also schools throughout the country that have decided to keep it on-hand on their own.

Naloxone isn’t necessarily a new drug, but its widespread availability is a newer concept.

In terms of the Narcan policy and procedure for schools, it varies depending on the state and the district, but in New York, a public law was changed two years ago authorizing employees to administer it.

In order to prevent the fear people have about administering Narcan or naloxone to someone else because of liability issues, many states are working on legislation that protects people who administer it to a person overdosing on opioids.

It should be noted that if someone takes Narcan or naloxone and they’re not overdosing on opioids, it’s not going to have an effect, other than to potentially cause them to go into immediate opioid withdrawal. There is no potential for abuse, addiction or getting high with naloxone.

It’s likely that more states and school districts than just the ones highlighted above will start thinking about their own Narcan policy and procedures for schools, as the opioid problem continues to grow.

Educators say they’re not stocking Narcan in school because they want to, but rather because there is a real need.

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