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www.mybaycity.com December 30, 2016
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OPIOID TREATMENT: State Legislature OKs Lifesaving Medication in Schools

December 30, 2016       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Legislation sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint) to fight opioid overdose has been signed into law.
 

So, you're a teacher and one of your students is showing the effects of drug overdose.

What do you do?

Up until now there was hardly anything teachers and principals could do to save a students' life on site.

Now, all that has changed. Treatment is available that may save a drug-affected students' life, but is only to be used by trained school personnel.

Legislation sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint) to fight opioid overdose has been signed into law.

Senate Bill 805 was part of a two-bill package that will allow Michigan school districts to stock and administer naloxone, a medication that helps combat drug overdoses.

"The opioid epidemic has claimed the lives of far too many young people, so if we can save a single life by making naloxone more accessible in schools, that's a success," said Sen. Ananich, who also served on the Michigan Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Task Force.

Senate Bill 805, introduced by Sen. Ananich, and Senate Bill 806, introduced by Sen. Dale Zorn (R-Ida) provides specific requirements that would have to be adhered to should a school district decide to obtain naloxone. These requirements include:

*There must be at least two employees in the school district that are trained on how to administer the drug.

*The training must be approved by a licensed professional nurse.

*School personnel must call 911 if they believe a pupil is having an overdose.

*School personnel must notify parents, or legal guardians of students, who were administered the drug, and encourage the parent or guardian to seek substance abuse treatment for the pupil.

Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury deaths in the U.S., and unintentional, fatal drug poisonings in Michigan have quadrupled since 1999. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse's Monitoring the Future survey, at least one in 12 high school seniors have used prescription painkillers for nonmedical reasons.

"Our work here isn't done, but today we've taken a step in the right direction," Sen. Ananich, a former teacher, said. "Saving lives must continue to be our goal as we work together to tackle this epidemic on all fronts -- including prevention, treatment, and enforcement."

Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury deaths in the U.S., and unintentional, fatal drug poisonings in Michigan have quadrupled since 1999. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse's Monitoring the Future survey, at least one in 12 high school seniors have used prescription painkillers for nonmedical reasons.

Ananich, a Flint Democrat, explains:

"In June 2015, I was appointed to Governor Rick Snyder's Michigan Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse task force.

"As a former teacher, and now as a legislator, I understand the importance of protecting students -- especially those students suffering from drug addiction.

"I would never have expected school personnel to be responsible for reversing the effects of an overdose, but in recent years, preparing them to professionally handle that situation has become a reality.

"This is why I introduced Senate Bill 805, that passed unanimously in both the House and Senate, and that was signed into law today. This bill allows schools to stock the life-saving medication called naloxone, which reverses the effects of prescription opioid and heroin overdoses.

"Saving lives must be our ultimate goal as we tackle this epidemic on all fronts -- including prevention, treatment, and enforcement -- and I will continue to help address this crisis anyway that I can."

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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at carraroe@aol.com)

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