Amid a rising opioid crisis, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted on distributing $135,000 of state funding for Narcan rescue kits to high schools in the county.
Narcan, also known generically as naloxone, is a narcotic that is administered through injection or the proposed distribution method for students, nasal spray. Narcan battles the immediate effects of an opioid overdose by attaching to and blocking opioid receptors. It is available for purchase in participating pharmacies or with a doctor’s prescription.
According to officials from the county’s Behavioral Health Services Department, the kits will target high-risk populations who are more susceptible to addiction combined with a lack of resources, including high school students. The county is planning to administer the kits to local high schools this fall, although the timing of the distribution depends on the levels of interest and urgency from each district.
A Palo Alto Online article cited a report from BHSD that discussed a number of obstacles in addressing the youth opioid overdose crisis. These challenges included new forms of opioids, a lack of awareness and students’ denial of the issue.
Still, the report said, “BHSD and County Administration are committed to doing all we can to protect our community from fentanyl.”
The county plans to launch the active fight against fentanyl overdoses with local high schools before expanding the initiative to universities and colleges in the area. If all goes well, vending machines with fentanyl test strips and emergency kits will be installed around college campuses.
This step towards implementation of overdose reversal measures is part of a greater movement towards full accessibility of emergency precautions concerning student health.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.