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Kentucky Schools Consider Whether to Stock Heroin Antidote

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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. 

Bowling Green Superintendent Gary Fields says he still hasn’t decided if his district will stock Narcan, which can also reverse the effects of prescription drug overdoses.

"I think anytime we ask lay people who aren't health care professionals to administer medicine, that's always a scary moment, but if we feel like it's going to possibly save the life of a student down the road, then I think we're going to have to move in that direction," Fields told WKU Public Radio.

The south central Kentucky region has not seen the rise in heroin experienced by Lexington, Louisville, and northern Kentucky. 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 Coalitition 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.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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