HARTFORD, Conn. — After a seventh-grader fatally overdosed on fentanyl in Hartford earlier this year, a new statewide survey said 40% of school districts across the state don’t have Narcan in any school buildings.
The student, who attended Sport and Medical Sciences Academy in Hartford, died from a fentanyl overdose at school in January. The incident also sent two students to the hospital who came in contact with the drug.
Officials said 178 schools took part in the survey from the State Department of Education which found only 60% of school districts in Connecticut have Narcan in at least one school building while 40% don’t have it at all.
Narcan, otherwise known as Naloxone, is a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
"You want to be prepared ahead of the need, you want to have that on hand. We're talking about young kids under 18. This could be an accidental overdose and you have to wait extra minutes for first responders to get there," said Jeff McKenna, Director of Woodbury-Bethlehem Advocates for Substance Abuse and Prevention.
McKenna said the need for Narcan in schools has intensified over the years and the tragedy in Hartford serves as a stark reminder of the dangers students can be exposed to.
"It should be in every school because you never know, and Hartford certainly highlighted that it should be a part of a first aid kit for a nurse," said McKenna.
There is currently a bill in the works, backed by State Representative and Chair of the House Committee on Children Liz Linehan, that would pay for Narcan in every school as well as training for staff on how to administer the medication and how to help steer students on the right path.
"These overdoses can happen the first time you come in contact with something. There may not be a chance to intervene if you see someone going down that path. It could be just a minuscule amount the very first time you come in contact with it," said Linehan.
She hopes the bill is brought to the floor quickly.
FOX61 reached out to the Hartford Public School District in response to the student's death and the Narcan survey. A representative said, "We have Narcan Nasal Spray available at every school with multiple staff trained in how to recognize the signs and symptoms of opioid overdose and administer the medication.”
Jennifer Glatz is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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