Naloxone, a medication used to reverse the symptoms of opioid drug overdoses temporarily, will soon be available in Los Angeles Unified School District schools.
On Thursday, superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho announced that the drug would be available after several local high school students overdosed, including one who died and another who was hospitalized after they were discovered on campus school grounds last week.
According to Carvalho, the latest drug overdoses have “deeply impacted” the district, which blamed “an unacceptable level of availability of narcotics and opioids in our community.”
“We have an urgent crisis on our hands,” the superintendent said. “Research shows that the availability of naloxone along with overdose education is effective at decreasing overdoses and death–and will save lives. We will do everything in our power to ensure that not another student in our community is a victim of the growing opioid epidemic.”
As reported by the CDC, Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a fast-acting drug that reverses the effects of opioids like fentanyl and heroin.
The National Institutes of Health estimates that naloxone can counteract an overdose for 30 to 90 minutes, but immediate medical attention is still necessary.
According to the CDC, naloxone can be given as an injection or nasal spray and is safe to use even if the recipient is not suffering from an opioid overdose.
In a release, the district said it has enough doses to supply its high schools over the next two weeks, with other campuses to receive doses as they are received.
According to Carvalho, district police officers would also carry treatment doses. The district also plans to involve parents in peer-to-peer awareness raising and education programs.
“This is not coming from more teens using drugs. It’s actually coming from drug use becoming more dangerous,” said study author Joseph Friedman at the University of California, Los Angeles.