Kentucky educators will be trained this week on how to administer a heroin antidote. The drug Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, is being made available to high schools who voluntarily choose to participate.
According to a spokeswoman, Jefferson County Public Schools is developing a plan that could include having the treatment — which can also reverse the effects of prescription drug overdoses — in some schools.
“It is on our radar,” said JCPS spokeswoman Allison Martin via email. “We are working with our schools who have [Louisville Metro Police Department] school resource officers. The plan is not finalized.”
The LMPD school resource officers — which are in most JCPS middle and high schools — have already received Narcan training. The school district is planning to send two employees for state training on how to use Narcan, Martin said.
In late August, suspected heroin overdoses surged in Louisville, with hospitals reporting nearly 30 such cases on the night of Aug. 30. That followed reports throughout the region of batches of heroin thought to be laced with Carfentanil, an elephant sedative, and fentanyl, a cancer drug.
In Kentucky schools, Narcan would be distributed to students in the form of a nasal spray. The antidote can block opioids for up to 90 minutes to reverse depressed breathing that would otherwise lead to death from overdose.
A Good Samaritan law approved by state lawmakers gives immunity from liability to those who administer the antidote in an overdose emergency.
The Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition will train school administrators on Wednesday in Lexington on a number of topics, such as how to administer Narcan and how to know the difference between a drug high and an overdose. More than 75 districts are signed up for the training.
The drug is being made available free to high schools nationwide as an initiative of the Clinton Foundation and Adapt Pharma.