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Ind. Senate panel OKs schools storing naloxone

Existing law allows them to stock epinephrine to treat severe allergic reactions

By Darcy Costello
Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana schools could store and administer lifesaving drugs to treat heroin overdoses and asthma attacks under a measure that a state Senate committee unanimously approved Wednesday.

The bill would allow schools or school corporations to fill prescriptions to then keep a supply of naloxone and albuterol, an asthma treatment, in their buildings for use in emergency situations. Existing law allows them to stock epinephrine to treat severe allergic reactions.

Democratic Sen. Mark Stoops, the measure’s author, said expanding the permitted emergency medications could help prevent “tragic situations” when children have reactions, overdoses or respiratory attacks while at school. Schools wouldn’t have to participate.

Under the Bloomington lawmaker’s bill, a nurse or trained school employee could administer the drugs when a person is demonstrating signs or symptoms of a life-threatening emergency. A report to the Department of Education would be required after administration.

Having naloxone in schools could save lives by reducing the time it takes to begin reversing the effects of overdoses from heroin and other opioids, said Savannah Brenneke, from the advocacy organization Overdose Lifeline.

“The thing about having it, especially in rural counties — if someone overdoses, it’s best to get it in the system as soon as possible, and you might be waiting for first-responders,” she said, adding that someone can die from an overdose after anywhere from 15 to 90 minutes.

A representative from the Indiana Emergency Medical Services Administration praised the bill as an “emergency stop-gap” before EMS can arrive. Mike Brown, a Department of Education official, complimented making the measure voluntary for schools to participate.

The Senate Health and Provider Services Committee approved the bill 10-0. It awaits a second reading on the Senate floor, Stoops’ spokesman said.