School board looks at Narcan policies and procedures

Published 4:24 pm Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A recent increase in heroin overdoses has prompted many agencies to be proactive in fighting back. This includes the Jessamine County school system.

Potential policies and procedures related to a brand of naloxone, Narcan — a prescription medicine used for the treatment of an opioid emergency such as an overdose — were discussed in the work session before the Monday night Jessamine County School Board meeting.

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Assistant Superintendent and Chief of Staff Matt Moore said 14 other school districts have adopted the policy, the closest ones being Madison and Clark Counties.

If the board decides to adopt the policy, procedures are already in place via Kentucky Revised Statute (KRS) 217.186.

A person acting in good faith who administers naloxone shall be immune from criminal and civil liability for the administration unless personal injury results from the gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct of the person administering the drug, according to the statute

Schools are encouraged to have quick access to naloxone by keeping it in a minimum of two locations at the school. Schools must keep the drug in a secure, accessible but unlocked location. In order to receive naloxone, the school must have a prescription from a medical provider and school employees who administer the drug to students must also go through a medical provider.

Each school electing to keep naloxone shall implement policies and procedures developed and approved by the local school board for managing opioid overdose. Those willing to administer the Narcan would have to go through a yearly training offered by the school.

A part of the training would be preparing those who are administering Narcan for the immediate withdrawal symptoms that follow and may cause the overdose victim to become violent.

“Withdrawal systems can be anywhere from slight to severe,” said Patricia Glass, health services coordinator for Jessamine County Schools.

Currently, there are three individual staff members in the Jessamine County School system who are trained to use Narcan, Moore said.

If Jessamine County Schools decided to implement a Narcan policy, it would be recommended that the school get the nasally administered type of Narcan.

“It’s more simple,” Glass said. “Usually employees feel much more comfortable with that.”

It was also recommended that at least five volunteer staff members be trained in how to use Narcan and feel comfortable doing so, Moore said. Some of those that would be candidates would be a school nurse or the School Resource Officer (SRO).

The approximate cost of Narcan is $75 per dose, Moore said. And the opioid blocker expires after 18 months.

“We would constantly have to be replenishing this,” he said.

The school could apply for annual grants to receive funding that would help implement a Narcan policy.

Newly elected Chairwoman Amy Day said the board is interested in talking more about having the potentially life-saving opioid blocker in the schools.

“We know these kids think they are indestructible,” Day said.

Though the board is discussing how proactive they want to be, Moore said in his 25 years of working with the school district, he’s never seen anything like this.

“We’ve not had this occur with our students or our staff,” Superintendent Kathy Fields said. 

The matter will be discussed further at the next work session on Feb. 13.