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News 5 Investigates: How many school districts have life-saving drug Narcan accessible for student overdoses?

Opioid Crisis Overdose Antidote
Posted at 4:35 PM, Mar 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-18 12:37:41-04

Following the fentanyl-related death of a Mitchell High School student in Colorado Springs District 11, News 5 Investigates polled several area school districts Thursday morning to find out how many of them are equipped to administer Narcan, also known as Naloxone.

While some districts were forthcoming with information, others did not respond to our request seeking comment.

Districts polled:

Harrison D-2

Widefield D-3

Fountain Fort Carson District 8

District 11

Academy D-20

District 49

Lewis Palmer 38

Pueblo District 60

Pueblo District 70

District responses:

Harrison District 2:

"We currently have Narcan through our 3 SRO’s, and we are exploring the same program as D11," spokesperson Christine O'Brien said.

News 5 did a recent report on District 11 carrying Narcan. You can view that report here

Widefield District 3: 

"We do not currently equip schools with Narcan," spokesperson Samantha Briggs said. 

Fountain Fort Carson District 8: 

The district did not respond Thursday.

Academy District 20:

"Currently we do not have Narcan in schools," spokesperson Allison Cortez said. "However, our CSPD and EPSO SROs (school resource officers) assigned to our high schools all carry Narcan Spray with them. It is part of their medical training. Although we do not currently have a program in place that puts Narcan in our schools, it is something we are investigating. Our district nurses have been in touch with the D49 and D11 lead nurses to learn about their programs. Also, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has a Narcan program for all schools, and we going through that."

District 49:

The district did not respond Thursday.

Lewis Palmer 38:

"D38 has a security team, and our security team has been trained to utilize and provide Narcan/Naloxone in schools across our district," spokesperson Mark Belcher said.

Pueblo District 60:

"All of our schools are equipped with Narcan," spokesperson Dalton Sprouse said.

Pueblo District 70:

The district did not immediately respond.

Narcan availability
Narcan availability

Dr. Leon Kelly, the El Paso County Coroner said Narcan has proven to be successful in saving lives.

"It's an easy medication to administer and it does no harm if you give it to someone who doesn't need it and it turns out there's something else wrong with them," Kelly said. "I would encourage folks in the community who come face to face with young people or young adults to have access to it and be trained in it and have it at their disposal."

Kelly is concerned that Fentanyl is being easily accessed by minors because it's in a pill format.

"Everyone from grade schoolers and up know how to put a pill in their mouth and swallow it," he said.

According to Kelly, Fentanyl can be 100 times more potent than morphine and 50x more potent than heroin.

Update 3/17/2022 5:38 p.m.

At 5:29 p.m., District 70 Superintendent Ed Smith responded to KOAA's email seeking information on whether the district carries Narcan.

"We do not have Narcan on school campus," Smith said via email.

Update 3/18/2022 10:21 a.m.

School District 49 answered our inquiry with the following response Friday morning:

"Currently, the school resource officers (SRO) who work in partnership with D49 schools (3 EPSO deputies/2 CSPD) have access to Narcan and are trained to administer," spokesperson David Nancarrow said.

As of 10:30 a.m. Friday, we are still awaiting a response from Fountain-Fort Carson District 8. This story will be updated as new information becomes available.

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