Legislation sponsored by state assemblymen from South Jersey requiring schools to maintain a supply of an opioid antidote was advanced unanimously Thursday by the full Assembly. The bill now goes to the Senate for further consideration.
Under the bill sponsored by 2nd and 1st District Democrats Vince Mazzeo, Bob Andrzejczak and Bruce Land, high schools would have to maintain a supply of naloxone hydrochloride, or a similar opioid antidote, and allow the school nurse to administer the antidote to a student or staff member who is experiencing an overdose — something many area high schools already do.
“We have a responsibility to ensure the safety of our students,” said Land, D-Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland. “That includes being ready and able to administer life-saving medication to reverse a drug overdose.”
Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic City, Ocean City, Millville and Mainland Regional high schools all have policies on the administration of opioid antidotes such as Narcan.
As the country takes steps to combat the national opioid epidemic, Atlantic City is joining …
“The harsh reality is that opioids are killing thousands of people in this country, many of them young people,” said Mazzeo, D-Atlantic. “Narcan has been proven to save lives. Having it readily available in schools can help ensure that our schools are ready to respond in every emergency situation.”
Under the bill, the board of education may designate additional employees who may be trained and authorized to administer the antidote in the absence of the nurse.
“Loved ones often don’t know that a child is using drugs until it is too late,” said Andrzejczak, D-Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland. “Given the current crisis situation, schools should be on alert and equipped to act if a student or anyone else at the school has an overdose.”
The bill was approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on March 22.