By SANDY RHODES
Bradford Area High School now has Narcan on site.
On Thursday, Gov. Tom Wolf announced 128 public high schools - a quarter of the districts in Pennsylvania - received free Narcan, a nasal mist that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.
Bradford Area School District Superintendent Katy Pude said the district is taking a proactive approach in getting Narcan in the hopes it will not have to use it.
"Although there was not an imminent concern in our schools about opioid abuse or overdose, we recognized the prevalence in our state and community and felt that having it on hand was a way to enhance the health and safety of our students, staff, and visitors should its use become necessary," she said.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health partnered with Adapt Pharma to increase statewide access to Narcan. Pennsylvania is the first state to implement what will serve as a model partnership program for other states.
BASD is the only school district to have Narcan in McKean County. No districts in Elk, Cameron or Potter counties are on the list.
"At the end of last year, Pennsylvania made a blanket prescription for the use of Narcan for emergency treatment and made it known that two free doses of Narcan would be available to schools that applied to receive it," Pude explained.
There are a multitude of the things the schools have to provide to be eligible for the program. They are:
• a standing order from the school physician;
• a specific policy adopted by the school board with specific reference to Narcan administration or such language included as an addendum to the district’s medication administration policy;
• proof that school nurses have completed the Pa. Department of Health approved training; and
• completed application submitted by the school district.
"Our Board passed a naxolone policy in May allowing its usage by trained individuals (school nurse), and at this time we only have it available at our high school," Pude said.
The program is a joint effort with Adapt Pharma, state Department of Health and participating school districts. Narcan is the brand name for naloxone that is administered through a nasal mist.
“I am grateful to Adapt Pharma, the Department of Health, and participating public schools for doing their part in fighting against the opioid epidemic,” Wolf said. “By equipping trained professionals in schools with this drug, we are providing necessary resources in order to address this public health crisis.”
State officials lauded the school districts for taking this offer.
“Having Narcan in a school could mean the difference between life and death for a student or anyone who overdoses on school property,” said Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy. “The school nurses in these districts have been trained on how to administer Narcan. I encourage other districts to work with their school nurses to get involved in this groundbreaking program.”
Adapt Pharma, with company headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, and U.S. headquarters in Radnor, Pa., has only one product, only one focus – Narcan.
Matt Ruth, U.S. chief commercial officer for Adapt Pharma, praised Wolf’s proactive fight against the heroin epidemic and called Pennsylvania a “true model” for the rest of the country.
“He is dealing with the issue head-on,” Ruth said of Wolf.
Ruth said it is important to get Narcan into everyone’s hands.
“The epidemic of heroin and opioid extends beyond the radius of first responders,” Ruth said.
Adapt Pharma’s goal is for everyone to have Narcan on hand in case it is needed. That is where Ruth said Pennsylvania is ahead of the game with its standing order for naloxone.
In October of 2015, Dr. Rachel Levine, physician general for Pennsylvania, issued a standing order that allows anyone to get naloxone without a prescription.
Doses are still available for other interested school districts.
School districts aren't the only entities making headway in having Narcan readily available.
On Tuesday, Wolf announced that 17 counties, including Potter, have complete police participation in carrying naloxone.
“More than 1,500 opioid overdoses have been reversed by state and local police officers since November of 2014,” Wolf said. "While my goal remains having 67 counties with 100 percent naloxone participation by municipal police departments, these 17 counties are a wonderful start."
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
By SANDY RHODES
Posted by Solomon's words for the wise at 10/19/2016 12:07:00 PM