Author: Shernide Delva
With the prescription pain killer epidemic spreading all over the country, high schools are faced with having to deal with the potential of an overdose happening on school grounds. Now, in an effort to combat the opioid overdose problem in schools, the company Adapt Pharma will offer all high schools in the United States a free carton of Narcan nasal spray.
The announcement was made during the Clinton health Matters Initiation Activation Summit on Monday, January 25. The overall goal of the program is to assist in efforts to address the growing risk of opioid overdoses among American high-school students. In the past few months, we have posted about pharmacies now offering Narcan and the concept of school nurses having Narcan on hand. However, this is a very hand-on approach to placing Narcan in schools for free.
The Clinton Health Matters Initiative presently is focusing its work to back national efforts to provide universal naloxone access. Seamus Mulligan, the chairman and CEO of Adapt Pharma, Ltd, a pharmaceutical company based in Ireland, explained the importance of the program:
“We understand the crucial role schools can play to change the course of the opioid overdose epidemic by working with students and families. We also want every high school in the country to be prepared for an opioid emergency by having access to a carton of NARCAN Nasal Spray at no cost.”
As a result, Adapt Pharma will offer a free carton of Nurcan (naloxone hydrochloride) nasal spray to all high schools in the United States. With this initiative, the next problem that comes to mind is education on the use of Nurcan to stop an overdose. That is where the second program coming in. The second initiative by Adapt Pharma is to offer a grant to the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) to support their educational efforts concerning opioid overdose education materials. NASN has been in full support of the use or Narcan nasal spray and plans to further educational efforts on treating overdoses.
NASN President Beth Mattey elaborates on the necessity of school nurses having access to Nurcan since often school nurses act as first responders in the school setting,
“We educate our students, families, and school staff about prescription drug and substance abuse, and help families seek appropriate treatment and recovery options. Having access to naloxone can save lives and is often the first step toward recovery. We are taking a proactive approach to address the possibility of a drug overdose in school.”
Nurcan nasal spray is the latest cutting edge emergency treatment for opioid overdoses. Nurcan is not a substitute for medical emergency care however if used immediately, Nurcan can help save the life of many. When it comes to overdoses, time is of the essence. Previously, naloxone was only available injectable forms, most commonly delivered by syringe or auto-injected. With nasal sprays, it is easier for more people to use.
The need for action is more than necessary. According to recent reports, over 44,000 people die from accidental overdoses each year in the United States. Most of these deaths are from opioids such as pain medications and heroin. There has been a five-fold increase in the total number of heroin-related deaths from 2001 to 2013 and the numbers have continued to climb. The death toll can be reduced if we can get naloxone in the hands of more people.
As the number of people affected by drug addiction continues to soar, the nation needs to look at every option out there. Implementing training to administer Nurcan in high schools can save lives in the most critical moments. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.