By Frank Lewis
It may be far more common than many people think, but drug overdoses continue to plague this community. Now, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined his Senate colleagues in calling on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help schools trying to maintain a supply of naloxone for use in an opioid overdose emergency.
In a letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the senators asked that existing grant programs be opened up so schools can use the funds to purchase naloxone or other medications that can reverse overdoses, and to train school nurses and other school personnel to administer the medication.
“Too many young people are facing drug abuse and drug overdoses,” Brown said. “The National Association of School Nurses and school administrators across the country agree: we need to use every resource available to save young lives. Timely administration of naloxone during an overdose can mean the difference between life and death. The Department of Health and Human Services should do what it can to help schools seeking to purchase and administer this medication.”
The National Association of School Nurses recommends that school nurses facilitate access to naloxone in schools. While some states have laws or programs allowing school nurses and other personnel to administer naloxone at schools, they are mostly unfunded and underutilized, Brown said. Other states are looking at similar laws in an effort to solve America’s heroin crisis and overdose epidemic.
This past weekend, three overdoses were investigated by the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office. On Saturday, deputies responded to Clayton Court in West Portsmouth where they investigated two overdoses. A day later, also at Clayton Court, another heroin overdose was investigated.
A bizarre drug occurrance in Portsmouth in May left law enforcement issuing a warning to drug users. Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware said his department started getting phone calls about drug overdoses in the east end of the city around 3 p.m. on a Friday, when the sun came up eight people were overdose victims.
Ware credited the drug Narcan in treating those who had overdosed. Narcan (naloxone hydrochloride injection, USP), is an opioid antagonist that counters the effects of drugs.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.