Administration responds to opioid crisis
By Angie Landsverk
When the Weyauwega-Fremont School Board meets Monday, Feb. 27, it will consider a policy to allow Narcan to be administered in emergencies on school property.
The meeting, which is open to the public, will begin at 6:30 p.m., in the Fremont Elementary School Library.
Board meetings are usually held in the W-F Middle School library.
However, once a year, the board holds a meeting in Fremont.
W-F District Administrator Scott Bleck said the number of people addicted to opioids is a known epidemic throughout the country.
Narcan, also known as Naloxone, is a medication used to counter the effects of an opioid overdose.
Just over a year ago, the Weyauwega Common Council approved a policy to allow the city’s police officers to carry Narcan with them when they are on duty.
Bleck explained how the idea came to be discussed in the W-F School District.
“We’ve been talking about it at the administrative level with School Nurse Janet Meyer – about ways to continue promoting community safety within the school district,” he said.
An association also brought it to their attention.
“The National Association of School Nurses is recommending that public schools establish a policy to support the potential administration of Narcan in an emergency situation,” he said.
The proposal going before the W-F School Board includes protocols for the administration of Narcan within the school setting, Bleck said.
For example, if the board approves the policy, Meyer and the administrative staff will select secure places to store Narcan.
The staff who would be able to administer Narcan would be trained annually on the procedure of administering it.
Bleck would obtain a standing medical order from the school district’s physician to prescribe Narcan for use in emergency situations authorized by school personnel to help those suspected of experiencing an opioid overdose on school property.
The policy would also not regulate, restrict or deter law enforcement officers, emergency medical technicians, firefighters, licensed medical professionals or other authorized people from administering their own supplies of Narcan when responding to a suspected drug overdose on the school district’s property.
Equipping public places with resources to help those who overdose on an opiod is becoming a trend.
“The philosophy of having this process in place is similar to what public places have in place for AEDs (automated external defibrillators),” Bleck said.
An AED is a portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart.
After a sudden cardiac arrest, that shock can stop an irregular heart rhythm and allow a normal rhythm to resume.
“We have AEDs all throughout the buildings,” Bleck said.
The district also has epipens for those who may have life-threatening allergic reactions.
While people have access to AEDs in public buildings, if the W-F School Board approves the policy related to Narcan, the drug will be stored in secure locations.
Bleck said community members gather in school buildings for a number of after-school activities, including athletics, concerts and special events.
The drug would be available for administration then, as well as during the school day.