Bloomfield school board may vote whether school nurses can store overdose-reversing drug
Some police departments across the country are adding NARCAN to their arsenal; a nasal spray that's capable of bringing people who have overdosed, back from the dead.
BLOOMFIELD – The Bloomfield School District Board of Education may vote next month on whether to allow school nurses in the district to carry Naloxone, a medication used to rapidly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
If approved by the board, school nurses at Bloomfield High School, Charlie Y. Brown High School and Mesa Alta Jr. High would be provided with Naloxone, known more commonly by its brand name, Narcan, to use if a student was experiencing an opioid overdose.
Teachers at the schools would also be provided training to recognize the signs of an opioid overdose.
School nurses in both Albuquerque public high schools and public middle and high schools in Farmington already carry Narcan. The Aztec School Board is set to hear a similar proposal to start providing Narcan to its middle and high school nurses on Dec. 17, 2019.
“We’re hearing from the [New Mexico] health department that there is a need in our schools for this,” said Bloomfield Superintendent Kimberly Mizell at a school board work session on Dec. 10, 2019 in Bloomfield.
Bloomfield school district’s nurse coordinator, and Bloomfield High School’s nurse, Aimee Garrett described the situation a little more urgently, referring to the opioids heroin and fentanyl as “very big in our community, believe it or not.”
A freshman at Bloomfield High School recently accidentally overdosed on an opioid in Garrett’s office at the school. Garrett said the only thing that saved the student was a visiting school resource officer who happened to have Narcan and the training necessary to administer the drug, which is administered via a spray through the victim’s nostrils.
According to the New Mexico Department of Health, New Mexico has the 17th highest drug overdose death rate in the country, with opioids accounting for more than 66 percent of all drug related deaths. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that 26 New Mexicans from under one years old to 24 years old died in 2017 because of opioid overdoses.
“If I could save one life. It would be worth it,” Garrett said, “Even if I didn’t ever have to use it, it would be worth it.”
The Bloomfield School District Board of Education is set to vote on the proposal at next month’s school board meeting at 6 p.m. on Jan. 14, 2020, at the district's central office, 325 N. Bergin Lane in Bloomfield.
Sam Ribakoff is a visual journalist for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4621 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support local journalism with a digital subscription to The Daily Times.