Bedford weighs bringing overdose reversal drug into district schools

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BEDFORD, Va (WDBJ7) It's the lifesaving drug that can stop an opioid overdose in its tracks.
First responders, police officers and more already carry it on a daily basis. But should naloxone be carried by school nurses too?

Cleared for Gray

That's the question now facing Bedford County.

"A nurse should always do what's necessary to take care of a learner," said Beth Robertson, Bedford County School's Supervisor for Special Services.

After an overdose scare at Jefferson Forest High School last week, she was asked to examine giving nurses naloxone. Her conclusion?

"We believe that more investigation needs to be done," she said.

Robertson points out School Resource Officers, who are present in every Bedford middle and high school, are already equipped with the drug "and have very clear guidelines about their use with it," she added.

Robertson also worries about the lack of official guidelines from the state of Virginia on just how, and when, nurses can and should administer naloxone.

But Thursday night, members of the school board pushed back.

"Narcan is an insurance, really," said board member Richard Downey.

Downey and John Hicks both strongly supported bringing in Naloxone, arguing it's better to have as many people as possible on hand who can stop an overdose.

"I don't see how this is different than administering CPR," said Hicks.

Other board members were more cautious, but many said naloxone will likely end up in the hands of school nurses, no matter what.

However, when that might happen remains up in the air. The board decided to take the next month to study the issue, and will debate it again in November, keeping the status quo in place for now.

"Simply, we believe right now that's a very effective system to manage the needs that are in Bedford County," said Beth Robertson.

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