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All PA high schools to receive donated naloxone kits
Gov. Tom Wolf this week announced a partnership that will make the overdose-reversing drug naloxone available to nurses at all high schools across the state at no cost.
Wolf's administration along with the state departments of Health, Education and Drug and Alcohol Programs joined forces with Adapt Pharma — a Pennsylvania-based small business with a focus on fighting the overdose epidemic — which will sponsor the distribution of Narcan nasal spray to all Pennsylvania public schools through the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, according to a news release.
The Clinton Foundation initiative seeks to supply high schools across the country with the life-saving drug, and Pennsylvania on Monday became the first to jump on board.
“I am thrilled to announce my administration’s next step in the fight against the opioid epidemic,” Wolf said. “By equipping trained professionals in schools with this drug, we are providing another way to save Pennsylvanian lives. It is our responsibility to give these struggling individuals another chance at life.”
Schools will also have access to new educational materials and training developed by the National Association of School Nurses as part of the initiative.
In York: While all York County public schools will benefit from the donation, several of them already have naloxone at their disposal
The York City School District's Police Department in August became the first school security team in the county approved to carry Narcan and, through District Attorney Tom Kearney's office, received the kits — which can cost between $30 and $100 for a kit with two doses — for free.
And Northern York High School next week will host an event which will include the distribution of donated kits.
Spring Grove Area School District has a school resource officer through the Northern Regional Police Department who has been equipped with the drug.
"We haven't ever previously ordered it for our nurses," said Karyn Brown, Spring Grove's director of pupil services. "But with all the issues in our community and the talk of heroin use increasing, it's definitely something we're going to take advantage of."
Brown said the district in the past has also teamed up with the York County Heroin Task Force to offer education programs.
"We're learning about our area in general, and we’re all recognizing the issues today," she said. "I know I’ve had a lot of conversations with Northern Regional police officers that visit our district about what they see in the community, and they all say they’re glad to carry it."
Even with more than 90 Narcan saves by police in the past year, it is likely more people died of heroin-related overdoses in York County last year than they did the year before, according to the York County Coroner's Office.
When the office last month released its annual report, there were 56 confirmed heroin-related deaths for 2015, with eight more pending toxicology results before they can be officially ruled. Should they come back as overdoses, which suspected ones normally do, the total of 64 will be two higher than 2014’s 62.
"It's a precautionary measure," Brown said. "Just being careful and knowing that we have the opportunity to save someone with this can make all the difference."
Northern High School: The Northern York County School District's high school — in partnership with the York County Heroin Task Force and iWILLrecover — on Monday will be hosting a drug awareness event featuring an expert panel which will offer a brief presentation and be available for a question-and-answer session.
The program is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. in Northern High School's auditorium at 653 S. Baltimore St. in Dillsburg.
iWILLrecover, a detox and rehab resource for drug and alcohol addiction, during the program will also be donating EVZIO Autoinjector kits, which are used to administer naloxone, to the high school principals and nursing staffs in attendance. A limited number of Narcan kits will also be available for community members at the event.
The donated kits were made available through a grant from Kaleo Pharma.
— Reach Jessica Schladebeck at email@example.com.