Naloxone May Be Coming To Michigan Schools

By Seth Ferranti 10/28/16

Michigan could soon become the eighth U.S. state to allow naloxone in schools. 

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Naloxone May Be Coming To Michigan Schools
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The Michigan Legislature is in the process of considering a bill that would allow school districts to have naloxone, the overdose reversal drug, on site.

According to the proposed legislation—which passed the Senate last week and has yet to be considered in the House—a registered nurse or trained school employee would administer the drug when needed to save lives.

Naloxone would be another first-aid tool available to schools to ensure student safety. Now overdoses, allergic reactions and even cardiac arrest can all be treated on site.

Sponsoring the bill are Republican state Sen. Dale Zorn and Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, a Democrat. If Michigan adapts the legislation, it will become the eighth U.S. state to allow schools access to the opioid antagonist.

"This means the opioid use epidemic has probably reached a new level of crisis," said Jennifer P. Stevens, MD, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School. "And this means that in spite of everything that we can do in the ICU—keeping them alive on ventilators, doing life support, doing acute dialysis, doing round-the-clock care, round-the-clock board-certified intensivist care—we are still not able to make a difference in that mortality.” 

Sen. Ananich is concerned about increasing use, and even addiction and potential overdoses among middle school children. Saving lives has to be the ultimate goal while battling the nation's opioid crisis and Michigan lawmakers are addressing it with a three-pronged front including prevention, treatment and enforcement. "We have to do what we can to protect them and school is a place where they spend a lot of their time," said Ananich.

"I think, in general, educators will do anything to keep students and staff safe. That's a no-brainer," Steve Tunnicliff, from the Genesee Intermediate School District, told ABC12 News.

However, Tunnicliff believes asking staff to be prepared to use the overdose antidote is a little much. "You're actually asking people who aren't trained in these issues to take on life and death matters," he said. 

With nearly every state embroiled in the opioid crisis, policymakers are continuing to seek solutions to the problem that will stop people, especially kids, from dying.

Naloxone, dubbed a “rescue drug,” can be administered by injection or via nasal spray. It counteracts the life-threatening effects of an opioid overdose and gives the victim time to make it to a hospital.

Almost 40 states have enacted some type of Good Samaritan law that provides immunity to those who call 911 during an overdose. State and federal officials are crafting laws to get these new preventive measures in place before more kids die.

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After landing on the US Marshals Top-15 Most Wanted list and being sentenced to a 25 year sentence in federal prison for a first-time, nonviolent LSD offense, Seth built a writing and journalism career from his cell block. His raw portrayals of prison life and crack era gangsters graced the pages of Don DivaHoopshype and VICE. From prison he established Gorilla Convict, a true-crime publisher and website that documents the stories that the mainstream media can’t get with books like Prison Stories and Street Legends. His story has been covered by The Washington PostThe Washington Times, and Rolling Stone.

Since his release in 2015 he’s worked hard to launch GR1ND Studios, where true crime and comics clash. GR1ND Studios is bringing variety to the comic shelf by way of the American underground. These groundbreaking graphic novels tell the true story of prohibition-era mobsters, inner-city drug lords, and suburban drug dealers. Seth is currently working out of St. Louis, Missouri, writing for The FixVICEOZY, Daily Beast, and Penthouse and moving into the world of film. Check out his first short, Easter Bunny Assassin at sethferranti.com. You can find Seth on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.

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