Local schools stock life-saving drug

Thursday, January 31, 2019
(News 12 at 6 O’Clock / NBC 26 at 7)

Schools are always looking at how to keep your kids safe when they're in class and that includes safety from a drug overdose.

More schools, even locally, are stocking narcan, the medicine that can save you during an overdose.

This year you can find a narcan kit in Burke County High School's nurse's office. The head nurse in Burke County, Rebecca Tinsley, says even though they haven't had an overdose in their school, it's better to be prepared.

"It's never a waste of money if you can save a life," Tinsley said. "If you have that tool there to save a life just in case you need it it's worth it."

The narcan kit comes with two doses and is stored in their nurse's emergency go-bag. It's and overdose-reversal drug.

"Just as a precaution here in Burke County it's just another tool in our kit, just like a epinephrine, albuterol, AED's in the school," Tinsley said. "Just a first line of defense if we have something happen in the school we're prepared."

Its a growing epidemic in Georgia. Burke County's coronor and the sheriff's office say they're seeing more overdoses in the county now than in previous years.

"According to two statistics they say that one in four teenagers have actually abused prescription drugs," Tinsley said.

Nurses who work with students daily say it's only a matter of time before a community's problem becomes theirs.

"It's just a drop in the bucket to take care of our kids or our adults that come to visit our schools or whatever happens," said Lisa Whitlock, the director of school health in Columbia County.

Whitlock says Columbia County's Alternative School and all five of their high schools already have narcan.

"I think it's just a wise thing to do," Whitlock said.

In 2017 Columbia County added one box in each of those schools.

"t's just one more emergency drug that we have to use if needed," Whitlock said.

Whitlock says they have great EMS, but when you're dealing with an overdose every second counts.

"There is a distance to travel for them to get there and having it just a couple steps away in the front office could save a life," Whitlock said.

Eventually, Burke County hopes they can get narcan in their middle school as well. As for Columbia County...

"Of course if we have an incident in our middle schools and see that it's needed we wouldn't hesitate to have it in the middle schools also," Whitlock said.

Narcan is not in Richmond or Aiken County Schools, but Richmond County is working on getting it in the high schools.