Schools Acquire Naloxone to Treat Opioid Overdoses

As opioid-related deaths continue to rise, many schools have begun stocking the overdose-reversing drug naloxone. Novus Medical Detox Center believes this move has the potential to save lives, and hopes more schools will carry naloxone kits.

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla., September 18, 2017 – Opioid overdoses claimed the lives of thousands of adolescents and young adults in 2015.(1) Today, a growing number of U.S. schools are stocking the overdose-reversing drug naloxone in accordance with school district policies, state laws or their own initiatives,(2–4) despite occasional pushback from board members or officials.(4) Novus Medical Detox Center, a leading Florida-based drug treatment facility, supports policies and laws that require naloxone on school campuses, and asserts that its ready availability can help prevent avoidable overdose deaths.

In 2015—the latest year on record—1,649 Americans between the ages of 15 and 24 suffered fatal overdoses of heroin, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The data shows that this age group also had 715 overdose deaths from natural and semi-synthetic opioids, 201 from methadone and 999 from other synthetic opioids. Furthermore, opioids were responsible for dozens of overdose deaths among children aged 14 and under.(1)

The New York Times reports that schools throughout Massachusetts, Kentucky, Connecticut, New Mexico and Pennsylvania carry naloxone for emergency use, and New York State has a program that provides free naloxone to schools.(2) Some states—including Rhode Island(2) and Maryland(3)—have passed laws that require public schools to stock opioid antagonist kits on campus. In response to rising overdose deaths in Ohio, the Akron Board of Education voted to equip the district’s middle and high schools with naloxone, despite opposition from one board member and several state officials.(4)

“Just as schools have defibrillators, inhalers and EpiPens for medical emergencies, they should also keep a naloxone kit on site,” said Kent Runyon, Vice President of Community Relations for Novus Medical Detox Center. “Though the mere thought of children using opioids leads some to oppose naloxone, the data shows that overdose deaths are more common than many realize. If the unthinkable should happen, it’s far better to have an antidote ready to administer than wait for emergency medics to arrive. It could mean the difference between life and death.”

Those who oppose stocking naloxone in schools argue that it could encourage substance abuse, serving as “a crutch” that allows users to avoid taking personal responsibility for their actions.(4) Yet studies have shown there is no evidence to support critics’ claims, and experts say that stocking naloxone in schools is “smart

public health policy”(4)—especially given that more than 1.3 million children aged 12 to 17 admit to having misused prescription drugs in the past year.(5)

Runyon applauds school districts that are making students’ welfare a priority, and he hopes more states will enact something similar to Maryland’s new law, which requires drug-education lessons and naloxone kits in all public schools and state-funded colleges.(3) “Mandatory drug education can help prevent students from experimenting with opioids in the first place, while naloxone can stop an overdose from becoming a fatality,” said Runyon. “For children and teens who are already struggling with substance use disorders, naloxone can spare their lives. Any parent would rather see their child in a drug treatment program than an early grave.”

In states that do not currently require schools to carry naloxone, Runyon encourages school boards to adopt their own policies. He also advises schools to take advantage of free resources provided by the state and/or naloxone manufacturers such as Adept Pharma.(2) Finally, he urges those currently battling opioid use disorders to seek appropriate treatment, such as opioid/opiate detox, drug rehab and/or outpatient support programs.

For more information on Novus Medical Detox Center and its medically supervised opioid treatment programs, visit https://novusdetox.com.

About Novus Medical Detox Center:

Novus Medical Detox Center has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Behavioral Health Care Accreditation as an inpatient medical detox facility. Licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families, Novus provides safe, effective alcohol and drug treatment programs that are based on proven medical protocols and designed to minimize the discomfort of withdrawal. The facility is located on 3.25 acres in New Port Richey, Florida, in a tranquil, spa-like setting bordering protected conservation land. Intent on proving that detox doesn’t have to be painful or degrading, Novus set out to transform the industry by bringing humanity into medical detox with individually customized treatment programs and 24/7 access to nursing care and withdrawal specialists. Today, Novus is renowned as a champion of industry standardization and a staunch advocate of patients fighting to overcome substance use disorders. Frequently recognized for its contributions to the industry and local community, Novus has become a regular source to media publications such as The Wall Street Journal and USA Today, and has ranked in the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Fast 50, the Florida Business Journal’s Top 500 and the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing companies. For more information on Novus’ medically supervised detox programs visit https://novusdetox.com.

1. Rudd, Rose A.; Puja Seth; et al. “Increases in Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2010–2015”; Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report; December 30, 2016. cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm655051e1.htm

2. Harris, Elizabeth A. “In School Nurse’s Room: Tylenol, Bandages and an Antidote to Heroin”; The New York Times; March 29, 2017. nytimes.com/2017/03/29/nyregion/in-naloxone-heroin-schools-room-overdose-antidote.html

3. Wood, Pamela. “In Heroin Fight, Focus Turns to Educating Young People”; The Baltimore Sun; June 23, 2017. baltimoresun.com/health/bs-md-heroin-school-training-20170619-story.html

4. Hawkins, Derek. “After Record Overdoses in Ohio, Akron’s Public Schools Will Soon Stock Opioid Antidote”; The Washington Post; July 13, 2017. washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/07/13/after-record-overdoses-in-ohio-akrons-public-schools-will-soon-stock-opioid-antidote/

5. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables; September 7, 2017; Table 1.2A. samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs-2016/NSDUH-DetTabs-2016.htm

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