Bill would expand opioid overdose treatment to Oklahoma schools

Published: Feb. 20, 2019 at 10:27 PM CST
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Senate Bill 85 passed the Oklahoma Senate unanimously on Tuesday.

The bill would allow school nurses or other employees designated by the district to administer opiate antagonists, such as Narcan, to a student in the event of an opioid overdose.

Kevin Bone is a drug and alcohol counselor and executive director at Arbuckle Life Solutions in Ardmore and said expanding that measure would be good for schools.

"Anybody in the community who has access to that, to help in case of crisis or an overdose, I think that the more, the better," Bone said.

Current state law only protects first responders like EMTs and law enforcement when giving an opiate antagonist.

The bill would amend the law to include school staff, protecting them from any legal action under the Good Samaritan law.

Staff members chosen by school districts would receive training on resuscitation and administering the medicine.

State Sen. Greg McCortney, who represents Garvin, Hughes, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie and Seminole counties, said the bill was a request from the State Department of Education.

"We definitely hope that this bill never has to be used," McCortney said. "But with the reality of where we are with the opioid crisis, if we can save a student's life and protect a teacher at the same time, I don't know why we wouldn't."

According to the Oklahoma State Health Department, Carter County was one of the top five counties in Oklahoma in the number of opioid overdose deaths between 2012 and 2016.

Bone said Arbuckle life solutions offers numerous substance abuse counseling services to the community, including people under 18 at no cost.

"We can see them and it won't cost...the client or the family," Bone said. "It won't cost them anything."

Senate Bill 85 will now move to the Oklahoma House for further consideration.

The National Association of School Nurses endorses making opiate antagonists available for use in schools and the U.S. Surgeon General has encouraged the use of antagonists to prevent overdose deaths.

Anyone interested in receiving help with substance or alcohol abuse can call Arbuckle Life Solutions at 580-226-1656.

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