The Black Horse Pike Regional School District will become the first district in Camden County to equip high school nurses with naloxone, a medication used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
“We’re doing this out of a duty of care for children,” said Superintendent Brian Repici. “We would never want to be in a position where we weren’t prepared … to save a child’s life had they overdosed in school.”
Nurses at Triton, Highland, and Timber Creek high schools have each been trained and equipped with naloxone — commonly kown as the brand name Narcan — by the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services.
While no student has overdosed in school in the four years he has been superintendent, Repici said former students from the Black Horse Pike Regional School District have overdosed. The district has about 3,800 students.
The move comes amid growing acknowledgement that opioid and heroin abuse continues to plague all cross-sections of the population in Camden County and beyond.
“This is an epidemic,” said Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli. “The biggest challenge is getting those who are suffering from an addiction disorder into treatment.”
Since the Camden County Police Department began using Narcan two years ago, officers have made 360 overdose saves, Cappelli said.
He added that the county also saw more than 300 overdose deaths.
The school district will pay for Narcan in the future, but it will be able to buy it at a discounted rate from the county, which will purchase the drug in bulk for distribution to police departments and school districts.