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Butler schools could carry naloxone

First policy reading approved by school board

BUTLER TWP — Butler Area School District schools may be able to carry naloxone, if a proposed policy is approved.

The school board approved a first reading of a new policy Monday in a vote of 6-2 that would allow the narcotic overdose combatant to be carried by “administration” and administered by licensed health care professional staff members and school police officers. Bill Halle and John Conrad voted against, while Jennifer Cummings was absent.

The policy would authorize administration to “maintain a supply of nasal naloxone in all school buildings and to develop and implement safe and responsible procedures and protocols for administering naloxone to people believed to be experiencing an opioid overdose.”

The school board heard from several parents at last week’s board meeting who said they were concerned about drug use and overdose in the high school.

Superintendent Brian White said last week that the board and administrators decided against carrying naloxone in schools a few years ago, not wanting to become known as places people could find it in an emergency.

“The decision was not to have Narcan because they didn’t want folks showing up on our doorstep seeking Narcan,” White said. “The fear was we have a drug addict show up at Emily Brittain banging on the door, or being dropped off on us to have Narcan administered.”

Butler Senior High School co-principal John Wyllie said at last week’s meeting that school administrators have called medical services about three times on students experiencing a drug-related health issue so far this school year. He said the involved patients were responsive when found.

School board member Jennifer Daniels-Wells asked last week that the policy be put on the agenda for the meeting, and said her concern lay with staff and students who could accidentally come into contact with narcotics.

“We have staff in all buildings that handle student belongings at the morning check-in process,” Daniels-Wells said. “Fentanyl ... it takes a teeny tiny bit of powder on your hand to make you have a fatal reaction.

“Now that we’ve had discussions, it’s negligent and it could become a liability if we vote this down because we know that this is so very prevalent in our area.”

School board member Bill Halle recalled the discussions the board had when the issue came up several years ago, and said he still takes the same stance of not wanting schools to carry naloxone.

“During all this time of opioid use increase, we have not had a need at schools,” Halle said. “Until the advent of naloxone, we did not have people driving to police stations, driving to hospitals, to other places to literally use in the parking lot because they knew they had naloxone.”

The health care professionals and school resource officers will have to complete training through the state Department of Health to be authorized to administer naloxone, as per the policy language. White said the naloxone supply and accompanying training would likely come at no cost to the district.

The board will have to approve a second reading of the policy to officially implement it in the school district.

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