Washington Public High Schools To Get Overdose Kits As Fentanyl Crisis Rises

(ConservativeJournal.org) – New measures are being taken in Washington state by the Department of Health (DOH) due to the surge in teenage overdose deaths, which have tripled from 2016 to 2022. They have announced the provision of 2 naloxone (narcan) kits at all public high schools and technical schools in the state.

Naloxone, available as the widely known Narcan, is an FDA-approved nasal spray designed to reverse opiod overdoses. The drug works by getting rid of opioids from brain receptors, temporarily restoring normal breathing when someone is overdosing. Each naloxone kit contains 2 doses, and the health department is collaborating with the state government to facilitate distribution for all districts. There are already similar laws in the state, but this initiative makes it so that any school, regardless of number of students, can have easy access to a naloxone kit.

Deborah Savran, whose son Gabe Lilienthal died from an accidental overdose in 2019, commended the initiative. Gabe’s death influenced Savran to advocate for greater awareness of the pressures and temptations faced by young people.

Health officials have reported a concerning increase in opioid-related deaths among teens aged 14 to 18, rising from around 4 per 100,000 people in 2016 to nearly 11 per 100,000 people in 2022. Fentanyl-laced pills are a significant contributor to this surge, mostly because even in small amounts, any type of drug laced with fentanyl can prove fatal.

The DOH acknowledges that school districts will determine who administers the naloxone, with some schools already having the kits before the new initiative. The kits are essential for a fast response to potential overdoses and are relatively self-explanatory to use, which ensures both staff and students are able to use it. Many government officials have in the past advocated the availability of naloxone in schools nationwide, as it takes mere seconds for it to be used on someone to save their life.

Copyright 2024, ConservativeJournal.org