How High Schools Are Preparing For Overdoses
There are certain harsh realities that many of us don’t want to face. One of them is that addiction can start as early as ninth grade and, sad to say, OD’s can be a common occurrence among young teens. To their credit, several high schools are becoming proactive to that fact by equipping teachers and faculty with the opioid overdose antidote, Narcan.
Northern Highlands Regional High in New Jersey is one of the schools to embrace this movement. According to CNBC and TheFix.com, they have been approved to carry Narcan on their campus. Currently, Northern Highlands’ nurse, athletic trainer and supervisor of health have all received training to administer the drug, if any sort of emergency were to arise.
“We all saw what was happening in our neighboring counties and how widespread the opioid crisis is here and across the country,” school principal Joseph Occhino told the sites. “I hope we never have to use it, but if we do, we’re prepared.”
This also comes after the release of some alarming overdose stats among teens. Per The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Americans between the ages of 15 to 19 saw a 19 percent increase in OD fatalities between 2014 and 2015.
Much of this has to do with the country’s opioid crisis. The facts are that many young people are exposed to painkillers via their parents and friends. It’s very easy to get into family medicine cabinets and abuse medications. Beyond that, there is proven data that shows doctors are prescribing more and more opioids to teens.
“Doctors have to be more aware of how much they’re prescribing to teens, because of the risk of opioid addiction and the chance that they will share these drugs,” University of Michigan researcher Dr. Calista Harbaugh told CNBC. “There’s been this perception out there that doctors don’t prescribe opioids to teens, but that isn’t the case.”
So it’s not surprising to see schools like Northern Highlands Regional take this aggressive step. CNBC went on to report that more than 3,300 doses of Narcan have been distributed to high schools across the U.S. (all free of charge).
Part of this movement has been supported by Adapt Pharma, who manufactures the antidote. And that’s not all. In the coming months, the company is looking to expand its school program to universities and colleges (along with the necessary training that goes along with it). We are certainly in favor of that, as preparedness is an essential key in overcoming these awful statistics.