Wake County school board approves Naloxone policy

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) — On Tuesday, Wake County school officials took another step toward putting potentially life-saving medicine into public schools — countywide.

Wake County School Board members approved a new policy Tuesday that would require all schools in the county to keep a supply of Naloxone — also known by its brand name Narcan — and train faculty members on how to use it. Families who have been touched by the fentanyl epidemic say that’s a big win.

“The more we say fentanyl out loud without shame, the more people understand that anybody could die,” said Barb Walsh, a Cary mom and founder of the Fentanyl Victims Network of North Carolina.

Someone’s going to die because Naloxone wasn’t in school. And is that a risk they want to take?

Barb Walsh, founder of Fentanyl Victims Network of North Carolina

Barb’s daughter, Sophia, died in August 2021 after drinking from a water bottle that had the dangerous opioid mixed into it. Since then, Barb’s made it her mission to not only support families like hers but also promote life-saving medicine however she can. She founded the Fentanyl Victims Network in August 2022, one year after Sophia died.

“I have a fire extinguisher in my kitchen just in case I have a fire, that’s because I want one,” she said. “Naloxone is the same thing.”

In December, Barb attended a Wake County school board meeting, urging officials to consider requiring Naloxone be put into schools. Now, that’s one step closer to becoming reality, after a new policy was approved — and just needs to be voted on to become official.

“We don’t know where the threat is going to come from. But if we have a tool that can save a life, particularly one of our students’ lives, we want to do everything we can to take those steps,” said board chair Chris Heagarty.

According to state health statistics, Naloxone was used for suspected overdoses 21 times on school grounds statewide last year. Walsh said it’s not worth waiting for more.

“It may not have happened in North Carolina yet. But someone’s going to die because Naloxone wasn’t in school. And is that a risk they want to take?” she said.

Though there’s work to be done — only about 20% of North Carolina’s public school districts have Naloxone policies — the significance of Tuesday’s decision isn’t lost on Walsh.

“It doesn’t take an army. It doesn’t take a lobbyist. It takes a mom who’s lost a child to stand in front of the school board to make this happen. And that’s significant,” she said.

Funding for the new policy is not yet clear. Heagarty said they’ll be targeting possible state and federal funds in addition to county funding out of the superintendent’s budget. The policy will be discussed at a full board meeting in May, and if passed could be in place by next school year.

Read the orignal article and watch the video on the ABC11 News website.

Fentanyl Awareness Day @ NC General Assembly 5/1/24 fentvic.org

Be Seen ~ Be Heard ~ Be Remembered ~ Save Lives

DateWednesday 5/1/24
10 am press conference (outside) followed by visits with their Representative and Senator.
LocationNorth Carolina Legislative Building
16 West Jones Street
Raleigh NC 27601

Please RSVP to attend the event (optional).

EdTalks 2024 – Betsy Moore, Richland Creek Elementary School

EdTalks is modeled after the highly-regarded TEDtalks and was created by WakeEd Partnership to provide a public platform for Wake County educators to share their stories, their truths, and their experiences.

The event was held at Jones Auditorium on the campus of Meredith College in Raleigh, NC on March 21, 2024.

Sounding the alarm on fentanyl: Meet-up in Winston-Salem helps provide support to impacted families

Families who have lost loved ones to fentanyl throughout the state have the opportunity to come together in Winston-Salem Saturday, in an effort to seek support and also raise awareness.

Non-profit to offer naloxone to Dreamville attendees

Dreamville Music Festival organizers are ensuring attendees can have a good and safe time on Saturday and Sunday. On Monday, the festival announced they will have naloxone kits available at the festival.

Dreamville Music Festival organizers are ensuring attendees can have a good and safe time on Saturday and Sunday.

On Monday, the festival announced they will have naloxone kits available at the festival.

Naloxone is a drug that counteracts the effects of an opioid overdose. It is sold under the brand name Narcan.

Dreamville is partnering with This Must Be The Place to help distribute the kits. The group is a non-profit that helps distribute kits for various events, ranging from music festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza to awards shows like the Grammy Awards.

“It is our goal to normalize naloxone and other overdose prevention tools in every corner of the country, because only then can we curb the deaths that continue to be caused by this unfortunate epidemic,” The charity said on its website.

William Perry with Be the Place said this is the third year the charity has worked at festivals to provide naloxone.

“We have passed out 50,000 of these kits, that resulted in 100 [out of] 100 overdose reversals,” Perry said.

Perry said while they may work out of festivals, they wanted to emphasize festivals are the best places to get the life-saving drug into the hands of people.

“You are going to have folks from all over coming into the Dreamville Festival [and] we can catch them when they are in one place. Due to a lot of barriers, they haven’t gotten the stuff,” he explained. “You’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.”

Dreamville isn’t the only place offering or considering having naloxone.

In February, Wake County Public School System leaders said they recommend the drug in every school and a policy to train staff to use it. A month later, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first naloxone over-the-counter nasal spray, which hit shelves in September.

In Edgecombe County, the county jail will have a vending machine for Narcan.

Perry said he hopes the charity and its presence at Dreamville will help destigmatize the need for naloxone and help access the drug, which can be difficult to find.

“This is normalizing the care of others, which has been so impactful,” Perry said.

Perry said the group will distribute the naloxone near one of the entrances of the festival grounds, and graduate students from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill will assist them.

Fentanyl Awareness Day @ NC General Assembly 5/1/24 fentvic.org

Be Seen ~ Be Heard ~ Be Remembered ~ Save Lives

DateWednesday 5/1/24
10 am press conference (outside) followed by visits with their Representative and Senator.
LocationNorth Carolina Legislative Building
16 West Jones Street
Raleigh NC 27601

Please RSVP to attend the event (optional).

Dare School Board approves new Naloxone policy

Move will allow school employees to administer overdose rescue drug

In a unanimous vote at its May 8 meeting, the Dare County Board of Education passed a new policy allowing school personnel to administer Naloxone. The so-called rescue drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, Naloxone has become an important tool in the battle against the opioid epidemic.

Dare County School Board Member Matt Brauer asked if school nurses and school resource officers should be the primary administrator of Naloxone.

School personnel are not required to train to use Naloxone, but the policy establishes guidelines for the storage, procurement, administration and other details related to Naloxone on campus. Students and parents or guardians will be notified annually of the policy.

According to the draft policy text in the meeting agenda packet, Naloxone will be stored in the school nurse’s office or another location designated by the school nurse or superintendent, and it “shall be made available to those trained to administer it in the event of a suspected drug-related overdose.”

The school nurse will ensure that all trained staff are aware of the Naloxone’s storage location and will periodically check the expiration date, notifying administration prior to its expiration, according to the policy.

Lists of school district employees who have completed Naloxone administration training will be maintained in the school district’s administrative office and in the head nurse supervisor’s office. Anyone who administers Naloxone “in accordance with North Carolina law is immune from any civil or criminal liability,” the policy notes.

“The Dare County Board of Education makes no representation regarding the availability of Naloxone in the school system at any given time,” the policy states.

The policy also says law enforcement will be notified of the possession or use of illegal substances and that students using illegal substances will be disciplined in accordance with board policies.

Other district policies that were revised or added at the May 8 meeting were done so at the recommendation of the North Carolina School Boards Association, according to Dare County Board of Education Attorney Rachel Hitch.

“But this is one [policy] that came up in conjunction with your local health department,” Hitch said, adding that Assistant Superintendent Steve Blackstock worked on the draft policy in conjunction with school nurses before it was brought to the board for adoption.

During a roughly 10-minute discussion on the topic, School Board Member Matt Brauer asked several questions, including whether the policy came from a standing order from the state. The standing order since August 2017, signed by the North Carolina State Health Director, allows anyone at risk of experiencing an overdose, anyone who may be able to assist someone experiencing an overdose, or anyone who requests naloxone, to receive the medication.

“The standing order from the state removes hurdles for you to have the medicine in the school system if you need it…so that you may [have this policy],” Hitch responded.

“Why wouldn’t we just…lay it off on the school nurse, who is a healthcare provider, or even the school resource officer, who’s a first responder? Shouldn’t they be the primary person to administer” Naloxone? Brauer asked.

Dare County Schools Superintendent Steve Basnight responded that the goal is to make Naloxone available where it’s needed, in accessible locations. Blackstock agreed, adding that many activities take place in school buildings after school hours when the school nurse is not onsite.

The Dare County Department of Health and Human Services distributes Naloxone at no cost to community members, so Hitch noted that teachers and students may already have the medication on hand.

“We figured if it’s in your schools, then we need to make sure that we’re telling people how it needs to be handled,” Hitch said.

In response to Brauer’s question about potential civil litigation, she said that she’d learned from a Dare County Health Department presentation that if someone were not overdosing and received Naloxone, “there are no implications,” meaning they wouldn’t suffer harm.

“The idea was: The administration is easy, the risk is very minimal…and the possibility that the issue finds its way to your schools is unfortunately very high; so that was the thinking behind the policy,” Hitch said.

Board Member Mary Ellon Ballance said that some teachers and substitutes are also trained first responders or volunteer first responders who may have used Naloxone in that role to treat overdoses. “I know that Hatteras has several that are also members of the rescue squad and work at the rescue squad in the summer, so they would have access [to Naloxone].”

Board Member David Twiddy asked about what might happen if a student experienced an overdose while on an activity bus away from campus and no one there had the medication.

Basnight said that the policy doesn’t require Naloxone to be available in “every aspect of school life. What we’re saying is, if it’s going to be in the building, here’s where we want it.”

“It’s similar to the AEDs [Automated external defibrillators], Hitch added. “We don’t have them everywhere, but we know that if we have them somewhere, that we have a chance of helping a kid.”

This article original ran on May 10, 2023. Read the original article on the Island Free Press website.

As opioid overdoses rise in NC, Wake schools looking to stock naloxone in all schools

The Wake school system hasn’t had any reported overdoses, but other school systems have.

Wake County school officials plan to recommend naloxone — the overdose reversal medication — in every school and a policy for staff on training and using it.

Superintendent Robert Taylor told the school board’s safety and security committee Tuesday that officials will come to the committee in April with a proposed policy and a timeline for getting naloxone in every school, early learning center and administrative office.

Naloxone is a prescription medication that reverses opioid overdoses. It targets opioid receptors in the body and blocks the effects of opioid drugs, restoring breathing in a person who has overdosed. It must be administered soon after an overdose has begun and only lasts a short time. It can be administered in several ways but is commonly administered as a nasal spray.

The Wake school system hasn’t had any reported overdoses, but other school systems have.

Last year, naloxone was administered 21 times for a suspected overdose at a North Carolina school, usually by a school resource officer.

The district wants to have naloxone in part because of rising opioid overdoses among 10- to 19-year-olds, said Kelly Creech, district senior director of health and crisis prevention services.

Across the state, school resource officers, not school employees, carry naloxone.

Any upcoming policy proposal would reflect training requirements for employees who want to be able to administer it.

On Tuesday, school board members asked questions about who would have the ability to administer naloxone.

Under state law, school systems must have permission from the state health director to allow non-medical employees to administer naloxone.

Most school systems don’t have a policy in place for school employees to administer naloxone. Of the 86 counties that responded to the state survey, 83 reported school resource officers carrying naloxone.

The school system wants two doses in about 200 schools, early learning centers and central services offices. The average dose lasts between two and three years.

Read the full article on the WRAL TV5 News website.


CMS acknowledges teen drug use, will stock all public schools with Narcan

Narcan is the FDA-approved nasal form of naloxone for the emergency treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose. News & Observer file photo

Teens and drugs. The phrase has long gone together, but, nowadays, each puff passed, pill crushed and line sniffed threatens death, not a shaking finger.

In response to the bleak reality students face — where deadly opioids like fentanyl are easy to get and even harder to escape — the overdose reversal drug naloxone will soon be stocked in every Charlotte public school.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education unanimously approved the plan Tuesday, which was the first time the district openly addressed the topic of drug use among students.

Continue reading “CMS acknowledges teen drug use, will stock all public schools with Narcan”