When the new school year starts in September in Montgomery County, Maryland, every elementary, middle and high school will be stocked with the drug that prevents people from dying of opioid overdoses.
So many people are dying of overdoses in Maryland that Gov. Larry Hogan has declared a state of emergency. In 2016, 1,856 Maryland residents died opioid-related deaths, marking a 70 percent increase over the previous year.
A new law in Maryland requires public schools to teach students about the dangers of drugs and teach staff members -- not just school nurses -- how to administer the drug naloxone, which is often known by the brand name Narcan.
A single dose of naloxone can reverse an opioid overdose and save someone's life. It is sprayed into a person's nose or injected into their body with a needle. The state made it available starting this summer without a prescription, as News4 reported.
Montgomery County Public Schools will get doses of the drug for high schools through state funding, and pay an estimated $15,000 to stock the drug in elementary and middle schools as well.
Every school needs to be ready in the event of an emergency, school district spokesman Derek Turner said.
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"We've never had a case of reported overdose on our school property, but it doesn't mean that we don't need to be prepared," he said.
Jessica Kolchins, who has two children in the school system, said she supported the plan.
"I think it's a great idea. I think it's scary that this is going on in the county. It's a good first step," she said.
The program will be in place starting September 5.