Cabell school nurses to begin administering naloxone for opioid overdoses

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — School nurses in Cabell County will soon be allowed to administer the drug naloxone if a student or adult on campus experiences an opioid overdose.

“We’re just trying to be proactive and be prepared in case that would happen,” said Todd Alexander, assistant superintendent of Cabell County Schools.

The state Board of Education approved a measure last week that would allow school nurses to use an auto injector on the person who overdosed before the ambulance arrives.

Naloxone, often known by the brand name Narcan, is used to reverse the effects of opioids like prescription pills and heroin.

Cabell is one of a few counties in West Virginia to implement the measure. The first school system to administer the drug was Brooke County last year.

Alexander said he realizes there is clearly a drug problem in Cabell County, not in schools, but in other areas of the community.

He said, for that reason, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“Whether it was a parent that was visiting the campus or maybe an older student that had a drug usage problem,” he said. “You never know when you could have an emergency, so if we have the ability to save a life and prevent a really traumatic situation from happening on school grounds, we certainly want to do that.”

School nurses have been trained on how to administer the drug, Alexander said. The drug will be made available at all high schools, middle school and elementary schools this week.

The Huntington Office of Drug Control Policy is providing the naloxone to the school system.

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