AUBURN, AL (WSFA) - The Lee County and Auburn City Schools systems now have the ability to administer Naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
Addiction to opioids is an epidemic in the United States with people abusing both prescription and illegal drugs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids were involved in over 47,000 overdose deaths in 2017. That’s 67.8 percent of all drug overdose deaths for the year.
Auburn High School does offer a course that warns students of the dangers of drug use, but officials say that although they hope for the best, they want to be prepared for the worst.
“With the nationwide rise of opioid overdose, Naloxone has now been approved to be able to be stocked in high schools in the state of Alabama and we have elected to be proactive and put safety and the health of our students first," said Auburn City Schools Nurse Administrator, Brenda Lindahl. “So that is part of the reason why we have gone ahead and done some training for our staff.”
Nine Auburn City School faculty members have already been trained to administer Naloxone.
“You don’t know what they’ve ingested or how much, we need to go ahead and give that Naloxone to reverse the symptoms, and if we reverse the symptoms then they’ll start to recover,” Lindahl explained.
“I believe it is important to ensure that the medical professionals in our schools are prepared to address as many health issues as possible and we provide the most current training available to our staff. We are aware that this life saving drug and procedure is not mandated at this time but we elected to begin the training process," added Dr. James McCoy, Lee County Schools Superintendent. "Although we have not seen any evidence of opioid abuse in our schools, we recognize it as a national crisis and we want to give our medical staff as much time as possible to become familiar with symptoms and learn how to administer the Naloxone correctly. Every life is precious, and every second counts.”
The drug costs $178 per dose and is all paid for by a grant. That means no cost to taxpayers.