First up in the news for nurses this week is a look at the new law enabling naloxone to be deployed in a new location for opioid overdoses in the field. We have seen more and more programs like this over the recent years with police, fire, and community groups getting access to this life-saving drug for overdoses. Now a new Pennsylvania law will enable another group of health professionals to add this drug to their toolkits.
School Districts Get Naloxone Kits
School districts in the state will now be able to distribute naloxone kits to school nurses to administer when they have students they suspect of being in the midst of an opioid overdose. School administrators and security guards are also being trained in the use of the kits and how to identify a potential student at risk for dying from overdose without the drug.
After one school district applied to equip their school nurses with the drug, Governor Tom Wolf enacted direction to all of the state’s five hundred school districts that they were allowed to stock the drug kits as well. It just made sense, he said. The naloxone kits would not just be used for students but for others who use the school’s facilities and attend school functions like sports spectators, parents, and family members who might struggle with addiction.
Heroin and Opioid Abuse Epidemic
This is in response to widespread increases in opioid and heroin overdose deaths across the state, especially in rural areas. For those of us who have worked in the ER or in the EMS field, we know how effective this drug is for our overdose patients. The relatively few side effects make it a very safe drug to disseminate for widespread use by other providers, medical professionals, and trained laypeople in the public sector.
I’m glad to see this initiative being expanded to include school nurses as well. I urge you to consider pushing for a similar initiative in your state as well. Pennsylvania is headed in the right direction with this program. Don’t let your state be the last to enact this type of life-saving initiative.
Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Antidepressants and Pregnancy and Episode 381.