The Bremerton School District’s Board of Directors recently approved its first reading of a policy at its most recent meeting, which could see the district obtaining the opioid overdose reversal medication Naloxone for each of its schools by the start of the 2020-2021 school year.
The initial motion passed 2-1 with board members Alyson Rotter and Carolynn Perkins voting in favor of it while John Hurley was the lone board member in opposition to the policy. Hurley voted no to the first reading of the policy as he is waiting for revisions to be made, according to BSD Director of Communications Karen Bevers. Senate Bill 5380 requires school districts with 2,000 or more students to have a policy related to opioid reversal medication.
“The Board recognizes that the opioid epidemic is a public health crisis and access to opioid-related overdose reversal medication can be life-saving,” BSD documents from the meeting read. “To assist a person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose, the district will seek to obtain and maintain at least one set of opioid overdose reversal medication in each of its high schools.”
According to RCW 69.41.095(5), BSD has the authority to obtain and maintain the medication either through a standing order, prescribed and dispensed or through one or more donation sources. If the district documents a “good faith effort” to obtain and maintain the medication through a donation source and is unable to do so, the district is exempt from the obligation to have a set of opioid reversal medication doses for each high school.
There are only a few BSD staff members who are qualified to distribute or administer the school-owned opioid reversal medication to assist to symptoms of an opioid-related overdose, such as a school nurse, school personnel who became a designated trained responder, a health care professional and a trained staff member located at a health care clinic on public school property or under contract with the school district.
If any BSD school does not have a full-time school nurse or trained health care clinic staff, the district will need to identify at least one member of each school’s personnel to become a designated trained responder who can distribute and administer opioid overdose reversal medication. The medication may be used on school property, including the school building, playground, school buses as well as during field trips or sanctioned excursions away from school property, documents read.
Individuals who have been directly prescribed opioid overdose reversal medication lawfully possess and administer the medication, according to RCW 69.41.095. However, such “self-carrying” individuals must show proof of training as verified by a licensed registered professional nurse employed or contracted by BSD or participate in district training as specified in the procedure.
If any type of overdose is suspected, district staff will call 911 and alert a first responder. The school nurse, designated trained responder or trained staff member located at a health care clinic on public school property or under contract with the school district will follow the Washington Department of Health steps for administering Naloxone for a suspected opioid-related overdose.