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Bill proposes training school staff to use Narcan in effort to help students impacted by opioid overdoses

Several San Antonio-area school districts already have trained staff who can administer the life-saving medicine. North East ISD is the latest district.

SAN ANTONIO — A new bill introduced in Austin aims to tackle the growing fentanyl crisis among youth by training school staff on using Narcan. 

"These overdoses can occur anywhere so every adult on campus must be trained to administer Narcan on a moment's notice,” said SB 629 sponsor State Sen. José Menéndez in a written statement. 

The legislation would add opioid antagonists to an existing advisory committee that oversees the administration of epinephrine auto injectors on school campuses. 

“SB 629 gives schools the option to adopt a policy regarding the maintenance, administration, and disposal of opioid antagonists, similar to what is in statute right now with EpiPens. However, Senator (Donna) Campbell, one of the coauthors of this bill, suggested we amend this language to make it required,” Menéndez said. 

School personnel and school volunteers would be trained on how utilize Narcan, according to the bill. 

Health experts says fentanyl has become of the leading causes of death for people between the age of 18 and 45, officials say.

State health data indicates 1,600 Texans died of fentanyl-related overdoses in 2021, an 89% jump from 2020.

From September 2022 to February 2023, nine Carrollton teenagers overdosed from fentanyl pills, which resulted in three deaths.

Four Hays CISD students died from fentanyl overdoses in 2022. 

“We’ve heard this problem across other cities in the state and obviously we need to do something to tackle this problem so we support the bill,” said Wanda Longoria, president of the Northside ISD American Federation of Teachers. 

North East ISD is among multiple school districts in the San Antonio area that already have school personnel trained to administer Narcan. 

Texas Targets Opioid Response is a state-funded grant program that’s made NEISD’s Narcan program possible. 

The UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing provides NEISD the medication for free. 

Nurses, clinicians, athletic trainers, and school police officers are equipped to use Narcan.

“Thankfully, we haven’t had a situation yet where it’s been necessary but we do want to have it available if that situation were to arise,” said NEISD director of health services Emma Kelly. “It really is something that really the more people train to use and who have access to Narcan, the better chances are that if someone needs it there will be someone nearby who can help them.”  

The authors of SB 629 are working on amendment that would allow money from the Attorney General’s fentanyl lawsuit to pay for the school supply of Narcan.

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