Arizona launches effort to broaden Narcan distribution in schools



(The Center Square) – Arizona Superintendent Tom Horne provided more details into efforts launched in hopes to prevent students from becoming victims of opioid overdoses.

First, DOE is creating the School Training Overdose Preparedness and Intelligence Taskforce (STOP-IT), which will start having meetings this month. The Center Square reported Monday that Mayo Clinic and Terros Health would be playing key roles on the committee.

The goal of the task force is to figure out how to distribute Narcan, which can help “reverse” overdoses, in schools and how to best educate students, teachers, and other school staff on how to handle overdoses and prevention. A major concern relates to fake pills laced with lethal doses of fentanyl.

“As a border state, in which illicit fentanyl is trafficked, Arizona youth are particularly vulnerable to the frontline effects of this battle,” Horne said. The superintendent added that in 2021-22, “at least 80 children under 18 overdosed, seven of them died” in Arizona.

“Four actually died in school, they could’ve been saved,” he said.

The superintendent said that one goal of the task force is to look into wholesale pricing of Narcan, which also is referred to as Naloxone, to save money for buying such a large quantity. According to Bloomberg, consumers can buy it at pharmacies for $45.

“There has never been a greater need to prepare the next generation with the knowledge and tools necessary to combat the opioid epidemic. With more than 50 percent of U.S. fentanyl being trafficked directly through our state, we are ground zero,” Dr. Holly Geyer, an addiction Medicine Specialist at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, said in a statement. “It’s time to bring solutions as big as the problem to the table. This task force has assembled a wide array of proven thought leaders whose collective expertise can and will change the landscape of our state’s opioid overdose trends.”

In addition, the department will also touted Sold Out Youth Foundation, which says it aims to “educate, encourage, and challenge students to live a life of alcohol and drug abstinence,” the group’s website states.

The move fell on National Fentanyl Awareness Day, and several other state leaders have made announcements related to combatting the crisis.

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