BALTIMORE — In the wake of a growing opioid epidemic, schools throughout Baltimore are adding Narcan to their medical inventory.
Middle and high schools will be stocked with Narcan after school nurses are trained to administer the drug.
“We have to realize if this is a problem in the community, it can be a problem in our schools, and we have to be ready for it,” Mary Nasuta, the nurse coordinator for Harford County schools, told the Baltimore Sun.
Although a neighboring county has had Narcan available in their schools since last spring, Baltimore county schools are being equipped with the nasal spray form of the drug.
Over 1,000 people died from opioid-related overdoses in the state last year, a number that has doubled since 2010.
“Heroin is an epidemic. It’s everywhere,” Karen Siska-Creel, Anne Arundel County’s director of school health, told the publication. “We needed to put ourselves in a position where we are able to take care of our students.”
Baltimore county schools will have Narcan available during the school day, and nurses will carry the drug during after-school events. Although officials haven’t reported a trend of middle and high school students overdosing, they expressed the importance of being prepared if such an event should occur.
Siska-Creel told the Baltimore Sun it cost $12,500 to stock each of Anne Arundel’s County’s 125 schools. Just days after the Narcan program started, a nurse used it to save the life of a high school student that had overdosed on opioids.
Baltimore County’s 28 public high schools and alternative schools have Narcan and over the summer, trained school nurses to administer it. The schools received their kits from the county health department as part of Baltimore County’s overall Narcan drug and training 2016 expenditure of $60,000.