More than half of Ala. school systems have opioid overdose reversal drug

More than half of Ala. school systems have opioid overdose reversal drug
The Alabama Department of Education is looking to put more opioid overdose reversal drugs called Naloxone in high schools across the state. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Education is looking to put more opioid overdose reversal drugs called Naloxone in high schools across the state.

“We need to be there to help that child so that they get a second chance. And this is a second chance drug," said Jennifer Ventress who is the Alabama State Department of Education Nurse Administrator.

Ventress said Naloxone stopped a student from dying from an opioid overdose in one of Alabama’s schools earlier this year. The drug can rapidly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose through an auto-injector.

About 55 percent of school systems have at least one of these drugs at at least one high school after the education department offered the drug to school systems in January of 2019.

The departments work with the Children’s Hospital of Alabama and the Alabama Board of Nursing and the Alabama Board of Pharmacy to create a program to train administrators, coaches and other staff members on how to use the medication.

“We’re just trying to be proactive," said Dorothy Rogers with Montgomery Public Schools School Health Services.

Montgomery Public Schools is applying for the drug.

“Students are like anybody else. They can get it at home. Somebody has it prescribed at home. They get it on the street. It’s very easy to get a hold of," Rogers said.

The grant program ends this year, but education officials still want to offer that reversal drug in more schools.

“We will find other avenues for them to get other drugs," said Ventress.

They don’t want schools to have to pay for the drugs on their own. Ventress said one dose would cost about $180.

ALSDE eventually wants to put Naloxone in middle schools.

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