Arlington to allow students to carry naloxone in schools as part of opioid prevention efforts

Arlington Public Schools in Virginia is moving forward with a plan that will enable students to carry naloxone — the generic form of the overdose-reversing drug Narcan — in school by the end of May.

At Thursday’s board meeting, Superintendent Francisco Duran said the county is aiming for students to be able to carry naloxone by May 26.

Schools in Arlington, Virginia, detail plans to allow students to carry naloxone in schools. (Courtesy Arlington Public Schools)

The announcement comes after the Food and Drug Administration approved Narcan as an over-the-counter medication last month.

The county has reported a rise in youth overdoses this year, and has hosted community conversations and sessions on how to use the potentially life-saving drug. Several D.C.-area school systems, including Montgomery County, Maryland, have done the same.

A school system spokesman said the county won’t be providing it to all students to carry, but it will remain available in emergency boxes in secondary schools should it be needed.

The new policy, the spokesman said, “will allow students to be able to carry it with them to school should they have training, permission from their families, and have received the naloxone through another entity.”

The school system has also increased the availability of naloxone in schools, but the change will allow students to carry it individually.

“This is just one of the steps that we have to do to make sure that we have in place,” Duran said. “It’s not the solution. There’s so much more that we have to continue to do as we think about battling the battle right now, which is a crisis, (a) mental health crisis.”

Over the next month, Duran said, the county will review its current policies to make sure they outline the guidance and requirements needed for students to carry naloxone on school property.

It’s also planning to create a new consent form to make sure students who carry naloxone are properly trained and follow the proper protocols if they administer it at school.

“I met with students last month and some teachers last month, some parents last month, who were really asking, ‘How can we make this happen?’ So I’m excited that we are going to make this happen. The benefits in terms of expanding availability as a preventative measure, there’s no question to that,” Duran said.

Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

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