School Nurses May Soon Be Able to Administer Narcan to Students
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A new piece of legislation is pushing to allow Illinois school nurses to administer Narcan to students who have overdosed from heroin.
Narcan, a drug that helps to reverse the effects of heroin, has been proven time and again to save lives. Up until recently only medical professionals could administer the drug inside the confines of a hospital, but if the new bill passes the restrictions will be loosened and school nurses will be able to tend to those on the verge of death.
Narcan has saved 44 lives in DuPage County in the last year. In two of those cases firefighters used Narcan to save students who had overdosed on opiates. But if the firefighters had not arrived in time, the school nurses would have been left with their hands tied.
“Right now a person could be overdosing right in front of them and they wouldn’t be allowed to do any treatment,” said DuPage County Coroner Richard Jorgensen.
The bill, proposed by state Rep. Lou Lang, was discussed in a House committee meeting last week and won preliminary approval from Illinois lawmakers. While some feel looser regulations on the use of Narcan may incentivize opioid addicts to use, Jorgensen believes it can provide a much needed second chance.
“The first step in recovery is not death,” said Jorgensen. “If you have an overdose and you die you have no chance for redemption, no chance to become a productive citizen again.”