School will stock meds for opiate overdoses, asthma attacks

pillThe Saugerties School Board approved stocking Narcan, which can protect against overdoses of opioids, and albuterol, an asthma remedy, at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 14.

Narcan is an “opioid antagonist;” that is, a medication that can reverse the effects of opioids, such as heroin, vicodin, oxycontin and morphine and its derivatives.

Superintendent Seth Turner emphasized that the school district does not have a problem with abuse of these drugs, but “we are not immune from the ills of society, and we know full well that there is an epidemic in our country that needs to be addressed.”


Turner told the board that if it approves the policy at the meeting, “the school district can register with the New York Department of Health to become a registered program, and we could have an opioid antagonist (a drug to counter the effects of opioids) at no cost to the district.” The state would also provide training for school personnel who are not presently licensed to administer the drugs.

A second policy allows the school nurses to stock albuterol inhalers for students suffering an asthma attack. While the policy now allows school nurses to hold medications for students whose physicians prescribe them, the new policy would allow the school to receive free stocks of albuterol in various doses in inhalers for emergency use.

Board member Krista Barringer pointed out that there are various medications used to treat asthma, so albuterol would not be suitable for all attacks. Turner acknowledged that this is true, but since the district could obtain albuterol at no cost it makes sense to have it on hand for those who can be treated with it.