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Bill proposed to give Oklahoma school nurses access to Narcan to address opioid crisis

Posted at 9:16 PM, Jan 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-22 23:11:04-05

TULSA, Okla. — Oklahoma is 5th in the nation for number of opioid-related deaths per capita. At least two people die every day, more than the number lost in car crashes.

"Teachers are finding kids passed out in the bathrooms, administrators are finding kids behind the bleachers having a hard time and with opiates, of course, there's only a few minutes to take action. If nothing is done the child is going to wind up dying," Tulsa Police officer Anthony First said.

This legislative session will introduce Senate Bill 85, allowing school nurses to carry a life-saving antidote like Narcan. In Jenks community officers already carry it, but staff on campus said it could be an additional tool for nurses to have access.

"In a critical incident, time is of the essence. So anything that creates a more timely response to an emergency is something that is beneficial to the outcome, a successful outcome," Jenks High School associate principal Eric Fox said.

First said four to six minutes without air results in permanent brain damage.

"It may be some time before they're even discovered, and that clock starts ticking the minute they stop breathing," he said.

Under Senate Bill 85, nurses or designated staff would be trained to learn how to recognize symptoms and respond.

"We can't ignore the statistics in our communities. We know that we have students, and staff members and stakeholders in our community that will be affected by these numbers. So we always want to be proactive in our planning," Fox said.

The author, Senator Greg McCortney, said the bill was a request from the state department of education. This follows TPD training Oklahoma universities on Narcan over the last year.

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