Proposal would mandate Narcan be stocked in Wisconsin schools

Drug reverses the effects of an opioid overdose

A state lawmaker is proposing Narcan be used in Wisconsin schools, and his proposal has the support of a substance abuse treatment group.

Narcan reverses the effects of heroin and prescription painkiller overdoses. Near Wasau, the Weyauwega-Fremont School Board just approved a plan to add the medicine in all of its schools. It's a lead others want followed.

"I've seen 12-year-old's in my practice with track marks from using heroin," said Jessica Geschke, a substance abuse counselor, and the president of "Stop Heroin Now."

"How does a 12-year-old get their hands on heroin and shoot it into their veins?" Geschke said. "This is a reality. This is what's going on in our state. We have to be prepared."

"If they're a user, they're going to be using in school," said Alicia Burdick, a recovering addict who's been clean for almost a year.

Burdick started experimenting with drugs at the age of 14, and was soon addicted to prescription painkillers and heroin.

"You get hooked immediately," she said. "And no family, rich or poor, should think they're immune to it. My parents were always there for me. I had everything I needed or wanted. It creeps up on everybody. All walks of life."

Schools around the country that already have Narcan on site only allow it to be administered by nurses or trained staff. It's also available at sporting events and school functions where it could also save adults.

No school districts in southeast Wisconsin currently stock Narcan, but all say they're open to it -- acknowledging it's sad that this is necessary, but better safe than sorry.

"Why wouldn't we want there to be help immediately?" Burdick said.

"If either of my children were to use opiates or heroin, and overdose in a school setting, I would want every available resource there to save their life," Geschke said.

Right now, Republican state Rep. John Nygren of Marinette is pushing a bill that would alleviate the liability if a school district employee administers Narcan to a student, or other person on school grounds. Nygren's daughter has battled a heroin addiction.

The non-profit organization Stop Heroin Now, connects addicts and families with resources and treatment. They rely on donations. For more information, visit the organization's Facebook page or www.stopheroinnow.org.

 

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