Anchorage School District beefing up training, availability of opioid overdose kits in schools

The Anchorage School District is beefing up training and availability of opioid overdose kits at local schools.
Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 2:45 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - All Anchorage School District campuses — from elementary through high school — will have multiple drug overdose kits to help curb the opioid problem infesting the state of Alaska, according to officials.

The kits will contain the drug naloxone going into this school year, according to district Health Care Services Director Kathy Bell, a drug designed to treat opioid overdoses.

On Tuesday, Bell was directing a training program for school nurses, two days before Anchorage classrooms were expected to swell with students, with the idea that nurses would train staff members at their individual schools on how to use the overdose kits in an emergency.

Last spring, the Anchorage School District reported at least 10 students had overdosed at local high schools, including five in one day. Some students were hospitalized, Bell said, but none of them died. Fentanyl was confirmed in several of the cases.

Bell said quick action on the part of the district and the state — which included emergency staff meetings and student assemblies to talk about the dangers of fentanyl — made a difference, at least last spring when reports of overdoses slowed down.

But Bell said it’s important to make sure the message is still getting out. She said she wants students to know that any pill could be counterfeit and contain deadly amounts of fentanyl, unless it’s a prescription they get directly from their pharmacist.

“I really don’t think this problem is going away,” Bell said. “I think providing awareness in education is really important and we are all educators and that is what we are going to do.”

Bell said schools will receive at least one overdose kit for every 100 students, and each kit will contain two doses of the life-saving drug.