Kentucky schools could soon have opioid overdose antidote kits
Your child’s school could soon carry naloxone, the drug used to reverse opioid overdoses. That’s how serious a Kentucky agency says the heroin and prescription drug problem is becoming.
Numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show between 2002 and 2013, the rate of heroin use among young adults soared 109 percent. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says more than half of new users in 2013 were younger than 18.
Drugs like prescription opioids and heroin are attracting more young people.
"We were all trying to be older, so normally we’d click to the older kids," said Mack McEachin, a 20 year old recovering at the Centerpoint Recovery Center. McEachin says that’s why he started using prescription drugs at age 13.
McEachin eventually started using heroin, which continued until a few months ago when he overdosed. He saved by the naloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan.
"Now, looking back at it, it makes me very grateful," McEachin said.
Centerpoint Recovery Center Site Administrator Thelma Hunter says McEachin is one of many men recovering at the center who started using at a young age.
"Sixteen, 15, we have some that have started at 12," Hunter said.
That’s why the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy is allowing each school district to decide if it’s high schools can carry Narcan. The announcement comes after the pharmaceutical Adapt Pharma said it would provide all high schools in the U.S. a free carton of the drug.
"I believe The more widely available it is, the more lives we can save," said Van Ingram, executive director of the Kentucky Office of Drug control Policy.
Some say that won’t solve the issue.
"Sure, some people are going to abuse it and be like ‘I have this safety net,’" McEachin said.
McEachin says it worked for him and gave him a second chance at life.
The Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy hasn’t started notifying schools yet. Ingram says it will be doing a lot of outreach this summer.
Schools we reached out to in the Local 6 area said it’s still too soon to tell if they’ll accept Adapt Pharma’s offer.
A Kentucky Department of Education spokesperson says it will hold a training event on Narcan in September for interested school districts. The details are still being worked out