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Macon schools to consider policy on Narcan

Macon County School Board. Macon County School Board. File photo

Macon County Schools will follow the example of several other school districts and consider a policy on administration of Narcan. 

“We’ve developed that policy for a couple of different clients,” Board Attorney John Henning told school board members during their Dec. 11 meeting.

Over the years, several parties have inquired with Henning about whether the school system should have a policy for administering Narcan, a brand of the medication naloxone which acts as an antagonist to opioids in the body. When someone is experiencing an overdose of opioids and their systems are failing, Narcan can be administered, interfering with the opioid’s ability to bind to neurons and quickly stopping the overdose process.

“There are two things that, from a legal standpoint, favor erring on the side of administering Narcan if you find somebody who you think is in need of it,” said Henning. “One, there’s a good Samaritan law and if you’re in good faith trying to help somebody, you’re not really subject to civil process, you’re not going to be subject to the criminal process and all that. Two is that [Narcan] does not affect people that don’t have opioids in their system.”

The policy would outline that the people administering Narcan have been trained in how to do so.

“We want our nursing staff and healthcare to be the ones that administer it first, if it’s needed, rather than school employees that are not trained health care providers,” said Henning.

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First responders have Narcan on hand and all school resource officers in Macon County also carry Narcan. However, this policy would make it even more readily available if or when it is needed.

Henning noted that there can be a social stigma around Narcan but made clear that by adopting a policy around its administration, school districts are in no way encouraging or even excusing drug use.

“You’re not encouraging anybody to use drugs,” Henning said. “That’s not what this is about. It’s about saving lives when they become endangered by those things that we certainly are against and have always been against and will continue to educate against.”

“Better to have [a policy] than not,” said school board member Diedre Breeden.

School Board Chairman Jim Breedlove agreed that while social stigmas may exist, the important thing is that the school system could save a life that is at risk.

“It may be the difference between life and death for a possible student,” Breedlove said.

Another administrator noted that while Narcan is important for saving someone who is overdosing, it is also vital for the health of any staff or students who might accidentally pick up something contaminated with fentanyl or be exposed in some other way.

Jackson County Schools adopted a similar policy earlier this year after the Jackson County Department of Public Health received a grant to prevent opioid misuse and overdose. The grant allowed for the purchase of naloxone and training for staff. According to its policy each school principal was responsible for designating one or more school personnel to receive training annually from a school nurse, or other qualified representative of the health department, on storage and emergency use.

The board unanimously agreed to direct Henning to work on creating a policy for Narcan use in the Macon County School system. Any such policy will come back before the board for discussion and multiple reads prior to adoption.

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