School board to vote on storing overdose medication in schools

Published 2:42 pm Thursday, December 8, 2022

The Vicksburg Warren School District Board of Trustees will soon vote on a proposed policy that would allow school nurses and school resource officers (SROs) to administer Narcan in the event of an opioid overdose.

Narcan is a brand name for the opioid antagonist Naloxone. Administered through a nasal spray, the drug is designed to quickly reverse the effects of an overdose.

Dr. Cedric Magee, Associate Superintendent for the school district, said that the goal of the policy is to allow school staff to be prepared in case of a life-threatening emergency.

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“We know the opioid crisis is prevalent. This is just a proactive approach,” Magee said. “And it’s not just for students. It could be for someone that’s at a (school) function.”

At the November board of trustees meeting, Magee spoke to board members outlining the basics of the proposal.

The Narcan will need to be stored in a secure location, and nurses and SROs will need to receive special training in order to be able to administer the drug.

Magee said the idea for the proposed policy came to the district from its own nurses.

“We had conversations with a couple of nurses. They had gone to a conference and (this kind of policy) was one of the topics at the conference,” he said. “The nurses brought that information back to me. And it just so happened that the Mississippi School Board Association (MSBA) had already created a new policy that would give districts the option of adopting a policy where school nurses and SROs could store Narcan.”

The MSBA produces sample policies for districts that are members that they can then tailor to their specific needs. The sample policy used as a template for the school board proposal was created this year.

The proposal comes after the Mississippi State Department of Health introduced new rules that allow Naloxone to be available over-the-counter at pharmacies in the state, getting rid of the need for a prescription in what could be a time-sensitive emergency.

A report from the Mississippi Opioid and Heroin Data Collaborative showed that drug overdose deaths in Mississippi rose by 49 percent in one year from 2019-2020. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control estimates that during a one-year period ending in November 2021, 106,000 people in the U.S. died as a result of drug overdoses.

The proposed policy will be voted on by the board of trustees at the next monthly school board meeting on Dec. 15. If adopted, the policy would take effect immediately.

For a calendar of VWSD Board of Trustees meetings and board documents, visit vwsd.org.