Schools take on new role: Saving kids from fentanyl overdoses
Training school staff to identify fentanyl overdoses and administer Narcan is saving lives in Bay Area schools, report Scooty Nickerson and Julia Prodis Sulek for Bay Area News Group. But not all schools are prepared to deal with the fentanyl epidemic.
In late October, Overfelt High Principal Vito Chiala saved an East San Jose girl who was overdosing.
Two days later, a school social worker at Oak Grove, a South San Jose high school, saved a boy. She'd been trained on Narcan, a nasal spray, the day before.
Sixty percent of high school districts "have yet to train their teachers and staff on how to recognize the signs of fentanyl poisoning and how to administer the life-saving drug naloxone known by its brand name Narcan."
"To hook their customers, drug cartels are increasingly mixing it into less powerful stimulants and painkillers, like counterfeit Adderall and Percocet, that are easy to buy online," write Nickerson and Sulek.
In 2020-21, "fentanyl was responsible for one-fifth of the deaths of Californians between the ages of 15 and 24."
It's not just a California problem, they write. "The drug now kills more people across the U.S. than auto accidents."
Bipartisan bills in the Legislature are likely to require fentanyl training and at least two doses of Narcan in all California schools.
I hate to see educators, already coping with students' academic, social and emotional problems, add another responsibility. Now they're EMTs.