Fatal Addiction: Permission given by Senate Bill 319, to administer Narcan in schools for opioid overdose


DARKE COUNTY — In a June 22 Arcanum-Butler School District Board of Education meeting, Superintendent John Stephens discussed the permission given by the passage of Senate Bill 319, to administer Naloxone (Narcan) in schools for an opioid overdose. He asked if it was something the school board wanted to consider. There is no needed change in policy, but there are procedures in place by law.

“At this point the question that the board asked me is who carried it?” Stephens told The Daily Advocate. “The follow-up to that is the Arcanum Police Department does not carry it themselves. We would have access through our Emergency Medical Service personnel. Because they get here so quickly, I don’t anticipate that we would make the decision to have it here at this time.”

The act permits a “service entity” that serves individuals who may be at risk of opioid-related overdose to purchase and possess naloxone without obtaining a license from the State Board of Pharmacy. The following are specifically included as “service entities”: a college or university, school, local health department, community addiction services provider, court, probation department, halfway house, prison, jail, community residential center, homeless shelter or similar entity.

According to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Deputy Director/Communications Director Russ Kennedy the ODH was heavily involved in Senate Bill 319, which enacted reforms proposed in Gov. Kasich’s 2016 Mid-Biennium Review, to further strengthen opioid prescription oversight by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, encourage responsible treatment and expand access to naloxone, including in: homeless shelters, halfway houses, schools and treatment centers.

“The quick use of naloxone, during opiate overdoses is critical to saving lives,” Kennedy said. “The time it takes for a first responder to arrive at the scene of a drug overdose can be the difference between life and death. That is why SB 319: Expands access to naloxone by allowing entities that regularly interact with high-risk individuals to carry naloxone, without a distributor license from the Ohio Board of Pharmacy. Such entities include homeless shelters, halfway homes, schools and treatment centers. It allows such entities to administer naloxone pursuant to a physician protocol, and provide administrative liability protections for physicians who issue the protocol. It provides criminal, civil and administrative liability protections for these entities that administer Naloxone (Narcan), including their staff and volunteers.”

In addition to Arcanum schools, some other Darke County schools have not adopted a policy to carry and administer Naloxone (Narcan), such as: Ansonia Local Schools and Greenville City School District (GCSD).

“We would contact the (Emergency Medical Technician) EMT if we have any emergency,” GCSD Superintendent Doug Fries said. “We also typically get the school nurse or aide and contact the parents.”

Some schools have not had an official discussion on the topic, such as Franklin-Monroe and Tri-Village School districts. Versailles Exempted Village School District Superintendent Aaron Moran had the discussion at a July 18 Board of Education meeting, about having the overdose reversal drug at the school. Dialogue was had on media accounts of young children overdosing, because of accidental contact with opioids. It was decided that the district would want the ability to assist immediately in these types of situations. If a student accidentally came in contact with an opioid, the school will have narcan on-hand and will administer to that student, Supt. Moran said.

To learn more about Senate Bill 319, visit https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/download?key=6616&format=pdf

EDS NOTE: This story is part of an ongoing series titled “Fatal Addiction” that will address the drug problem and effects on residents and resources in Darke County.

Senate Bill 319 gives permission to administer Narcan in schools

By Carolyn Harmon

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The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.

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