Durbin urges making naloxone opiate antidote available at U.S. schools
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and eight other senators sent a letter October 29 urging the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to make the anti-opiate naloxone more available to first responders on school campuses.
The number of drug overdose deaths in the U.S. has doubled since 1999. Illinois is one of five states that have passed laws enabling schools to keep a supply of naxolone to be administered by school nurses and other trained staff if necessary.
“As part of a comprehensive strategy to address the growing rate of overdose deaths due to heroin and prescription opioids, we urge the Department of Health and Human Services to take action to encourage the availability of naloxone and other opioid antagonists at schools for use in the event of an emergency opioid overdose,” the senators said. “Too many young people have already lost their lives due to opioid drug overdoses. Access to naloxone can save lives, and we should do all we can to make this life-saving medicine available for overdose prevention in schools.”
Naloxone is usually injected and can take affect within one minute. The drug has been widely recognized as effective in treating overdoses, particularly of heroin and painkillers.
In response to the ongoing overdose crisis, the White House also came out in support of the drug last week, announcing that agencies at all levels of government have committed to doubling the number or providers who will prescribe naloxone.
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