Los Angeles Unified School District students can soon carry Narcan nasal spray at school in case of an opioid overdose, officials announced.
Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho reportedly told school board members Tuesday in a message that an updated policy from the district will allow students to carry the medication at a time when drug cartels are smuggling deadly fentanyl across the southern border into the United States.
Narcan “cannot be used to get high, is not addictive and does not have any effect on a person if there are no opioids in their body,” Carvalho wrote to board members, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Carvalho added that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health “supports a clarification” in L.A. Unified policy “that would allow students to be able to carry Narcan in schools,” adding that officials would reissue an updated policy bulletin soon.
The existing district policy on administering Narcan that officials issued last year reads that the medication “must be kept at the school in a secure location accessible to designated school personnel.”
The Times reported that school board member Nick Melvoin supports the policy update.
“Narcan has the power to save lives and I’ve been working to expand its access to everyone in our school communities, including students themselves,” Melvoin said. “But the increased use of Narcan as a life-saving measure underscores the drug crisis that’s being brought to our schools.”
“We must do more to address the root causes of this crisis and that starts with education and more support for our youth,” he added.
Last year, a report showed 92% of teens who died from drug overdoses in 2021 tested positive for fentanyl in Los Angeles County, with 31 directly related to the deadly opioid.
The Drug Enforcement Administration said last December that the agency seized enough fentanyl in 2022 to kill every single American citizen.
Officials said the DEA had seized some 50.6 million fake prescription pills laced with fentanyl, along with more than 10,000 pounds of fentanyl powder, with two weeks left in the calendar year 2022.
That amounts to more than 379 million lethal doses of fentanyl last year, more than enough to kill all 333 million people in the United States.
Los Angeles Unified announced last September that after student overdoses, schools would be stocked with naloxone, which medical professionals assert the supply of could make a difference in teen deaths.
District officials also said staff has been receiving training to administer the nasal spray.
Online and in-person substance abuse workshops and counseling will be offered to students and families starting in February and March, the Times reported.
“Through our existing initiatives, we will educate students and families about the safety and effectiveness of Narcan including the identification signs of an opioid overdose and the importance of alerting medical professionals when Narcan is used,” Carvalho wrote. “We remain committed to expanding access, education and training for this life-saving emergency medication.”