Naloxone may be coming to Garfield Re-2 School District for emergency use |

Naloxone may be coming to Garfield Re-2 School District for emergency use

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The drug naloxone may be coming to Garfield Re-2 School District in order to effectively manage and prevent opioid-related drug overdoses in students throughout the district’s schools.

Naloxone, commonly known for its brand name, Narcan, is used to reverse the side effects of opioids such as heroin, oxycodone and even fentanyl. Thanks to the Colorado Senate Bill 19-227 passed in 2019, the drug has been made available to more than 30 school districts across the state. 

The idea to implement the bill was brought up during the April 13 board meeting, where registered nurse and Rifle resident, Sarah Bell, advocated for the availability of naloxone throughout Garfield Re-2 schools.

“Naloxone is the antagonist of opioids,” Bell said during the board meeting. “It’s not just for our students. We have teachers and family members who come into the district and we never know who could have an overdose. It’s a life-saving opportunity that we could use and it’s safe.”

The drug, which would be made available free of charge by the state of Colorado, would be administered by designated persons throughout the schools. Training for staff to administer the drug would also be made available by the state.

“With all the fentanyl-laced stuff now, it’s too scary for us to not have this,” Bell said. “If something happens, I’d like to make sure that we have every capability to save a life.”

Opioids, which caused 1,290 deaths throughout Colorado in 2021 according to the Center For Disease Control, saw a 75% increase from the previous year. Now, schools are doing what they can to help prevent that number from continuing to rise.

“Time is of the essence when it comes to opioid overdose,” board member Christina Maness said. “You can call 911 but if you have naloxone right there then you are much more likely to be able to save their life.”

Mentioning the timeliness of 911 services, Bell also touched on the busyness of these services, stating how backed up EMT services can get and the importance of immediate medical attention in overdose situations.

The next board meeting is slated for 6:30 p.m. May 10 at the Garfield Re-2 District Office located in Rifle.

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