Freeholders Advocate for Narcan in Every High School
(February 8, 2017) - The Board of Freeholders, the Camden County Addiction Awareness Task Force, local law enforcement and Black Horse Pike Regional School Superintendent Dr. Brian Repici introduced model legislation to supply Narcan in all high schools. At the end of last year the school district and its school board passed a groundbreaking regulation that would allow school nurses to carry and deploy Naloxone if a student or employee is experiencing an overdose. Prior to this regulation the medication was not carried in the schools.
Freeholder Director, and founder and liaison to the addiction awareness task force, Louis Cappelli pointed to the work Repici is doing as innovative and a model for every other high school in New Jersey.
“The heroin epidemic has hit home for every family in Camden County and it’s time we recognize the benefit of having this life saving antidote in our schools,” Cappelli said. “Brian and the board have done the right thing by putting the health and welfare of their student body and employees first. This initiative is rooted in common sense by having medical professionals trained for any situation that could occur on their campuses. Our goal is for all high schools to follow Brian’s lead.”
The Black Horse Pike Regional School District is made up of three high schools, Triton, Highland and Timber Creek. The district combines three municipalities that share the Black Horse Pike in Gloucester Township, Runnemede and Bellmawr and the total size of the school system is about 3,800 students.
“As a result of what I believe is our duty to care for children, our view is that Narcan, a potentially life-saving antidote, is not different than any other dispensation of medication. We took the steps, in consultation with our Board of Education, school nurses, Student Assistance Coordinators, the Camden County Addiction Task Force, and our local Police to develop policy language that would allow our nursing staff to utilize Narcan,” Repici said. “The Board of Education was fully supportive, our nurses and Student Assistance Coordinators, Principals, were all fully supportive because we all shared the same view – that this medication could potentially save the life of one of our children. We are hopeful that we never have to use it, but our school nurses are trained to use the medication if the situation arises and our District policy permits and supports that implementation.”
Fresh off a round table discussion on this topic, Rep. Donald Norcross also talked about the importance of fighting the scourge of heroin.
“In 2015, our nation set an unacceptable new record – more than 50,000 Americans died from drug overdoses. The soaring rise in deaths, fueled by heroin and prescription painkillers, now kills more Americans than car crashes, guns, terrorism or war. This is more than just a public health emergency – it’s a threat to our national security.”
Since its inception in 2015, the Camden County Addiction Awareness Task Force has distributed over 30,000 pieces of educational literature throughout the county, held community awareness and educational events with over 10,000 attendees, and worked with local law enforcement to expand access to medication drop boxes. In addition, the task force’s Narcan/naloxone training program has equipped over 800 residents with overdose prevention kits, and provided every law enforcement agency in Camden County with Narcan, resulting in almost 1,000 Narcan saves countywide.