Alabama schools will now have access to a life-saving medication.
State leaders will allow the opioid reversing medication Naloxone, to be available in public high schools.
“We know teens are using opioids, either through prescription drugs or even through heroin,” said Candice Dunaway, Executive Director of Partnership for a Drug-Free Community.
The Partnership for a Drug-Free Community works to educate the public on drug trends. They say teens across North Alabama have become targets for opioids.
“Several months ago they came and talked about, they felt there was a need in their school clinic for NARCAN,” Dunaway explained.
The Alabama State Department of Education and the Alabama Department of Public Health is making that happen. Naloxone will now be available in Alabama public high schools. The life saving medication is applied through an auto-injector and rapidly reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.
“Almost instantly it has to, because the patient is not breathing. Their heart is stopped, their brain is not getting enough oxygen. It has to happen quickly because things start shutting down,” she said.
A training program has been developed so that Naloxone can be given by school nurses and also administrators, coaches, and other non-licensed personnel. The Partnership says it’s a positive move to begin addressing the opioid crisis in our state.
“You can’t be in recovery if you’re dead. This gives people a chance to be revived if they’re interested in getting help, they’ve got that chance,” said Dunaway.
The reversal medication is available to all public high schools in the state, however it is not mandatory.