The United States Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) has made opioid overdoses a priority. HHS initiatives include educating doctors about being more careful in prescribing painkillers. The Alabama Department of Education and Department of Public Health took that one step further and recently announced a new educational program designed to reduce deaths caused by opioids. The new, statewide program will provide Alabama high schools with access to Naloxone, the opioid-overdose reversal drug. This program is the first in the United States to train school administrators, coaches, and teachers in how to use this life-saving drug. Prior to this program, only nurses could administer Naloxone in Alabama schools. The Naloxone supplied to schools under this program, which costs approximately $178 per dose, was paid for by a grant, not taxpayer funds.
More than 400 opioid-related overdose deaths were reported in Alabama in 2017. Alabama high schools hope to lower this number because of this program. The Naloxone is not solely available to students, but can be used for anyone who comes to the high school campuses for events.
What This Means for You: Preparation and training are crucial in recognizing the signs of an opioid overdose and administering Naloxone timely and effectively. Although the first of its kind, this program in Alabama may begin a trend in other states and/or school districts across the country to consider developing programs similar to the Alabama program.