ARLINGTON, Va. (DC News Now) — Arlington Public Schools (APS) will soon allow students to carry and use Naloxone, commonly known as Narcan, as it attempts to curb the effects of the opioid epidemic inside its schools.
The move comes less than three months after a student at Wakefield High School died as a result of an overdose.
Previously, APS allowed its staff to carry Narcan if they completed training.
“I think anything that you can do to prevent any deaths, overdosing in the school system, any immediate solutions is great,” said Elder Julio Basurto, an advocate who has tracked the issue closely.
The plan in Arlington comes after, and in ways because of, the FDA’s recent approval of the first over-the-counter Naloxone spray.
“It can truly save a life, so carrying it is tremendously important,” said Christina Diaz-Torres, a school board member.
The details of APS’s policy are still in the works, but the district said students who can carry Narcan will have to get trained and have permission from their parent/guardian.
Basurto said he wants collaboration between the school district and the county health leaders who have been doing the training.
“I think they’re very professional about the way they’ve been handling the training,” he said. “They should probably partner with APS and figure out a way we can get all of our students trained.”
He also implored APS to include everyone when crafting its plan.
“Don’t forget about us,” he said. “It’s not only the Latino community, but you have other minority communities that need to have interpretation. We need to have meetings non-traditionally.”
The policy will likely include strict safety protocols, including rules that mandate calls to 9-1-1 or school administrators if Narcan is used.
Students could carry Narcan as soon as late May.