HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — School nurses in Cabell County have carried the drug naloxone for one year, but Superintendent Bill Smith says, fortunately, the drug has not been administered to anyone in the school system.
“We have not had the horror of having a child succumb to an overdose in the schools and that to me is good, but we just need to be prepared,” Smith told MetroNews.
The program was implemented in April 2016 in response to the county’s ongoing drug epidemic.
Nurses were trained to use an auto injector on a person who overdoses on heroin or prescription pills. The drug, also referred to by its brand name Narcan, is used to reverse the effects of opioids.
Smith said the program was put in place to allow nurses to respond before an ambulance arrives. He said it’s a community partnership with the City of Huntington, the Cabell-Huntington Health Department and the Marshall University School of Pharmacy.
“The reason we’ve got to the point we’ve gotten to where having it in every school is because of the drug recovery efforts that the city has had,” he said.
County and state officials still work to combat the drug problem, which is why Smith said it’s better to be safe than sorry. He said there could be a case where a student is exposed to opioids in the home. A parent dropping their child off at the school could also have an overdose, he said.
“I think it’s given us a level of security to be able to help someone if something happens,” he said.
Smith said he hopes to keep the program in place for years to come.
The Huntington Office of Drug Control Policy provided the naloxone to the school system.
The first school district in West Virginia to administer the drug was Brooke County in 2015.