School board approves Naloxone for Opioid Overdoses in all ICCSD schools


Hattie Conover

City High nurses office.

Hattie Conover, Feature Editor

The Iowa City Community School District has recently unanimously approved a drug called Naloxone to be kept in schools and administered by licensed nurses and trained staff members. This drug can be distributed by way of injection or nasal spray to treat overdoses in schools.

“Naloxone comes in various forms but we’ll be getting it as an intra-nasal medication which is just sprayed in the nose. It is atomizing so that you absorb it pretty quickly,” Suzi Wilkes, the school nurse, said.

Opioid use depresses the part of the brain that controls breathing, and when too much is administered, it can cause an overdose. Naxolone blocks the opioid receptors, which reverses the effects of the opioid, ceasing the depression of the breathing center and returning to normal breathing, therefore, preventing an overdose.

It is extremely advised that emergency responders call 911 as soon as possible after or before administering Naloxone. Naloxone only lasts for 30-90 minutes in that time frame the opioids may not have worn off and in that case, the person will stop breathing again.

“The great thing about Naloxone it’s also called Narcan is that it is a very safe medication. So if we have a student, staff member, or building visitor that is unresponsive, and we think that that they may be overdosing on opioids, even if you give Narcan and they’re not experiencing an opioid overdose it’s still safe to give,” Wilkes said.

ICCSD’s decision to instate this lifesaving drug at schools will add an extra safety net to make schools an even safer place to be for students and faculty alike according to Wilkes.

“Having Naloxone in schools is overdue, it’s a good thing. There are a lot of risks in this population and with staff and visitors and so it’s going to be a really good thing to have Naloxone here in the event of an emergency.”