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Segment Transcript:
The fight against fentanyl in our state. The Arizona Department of Health Services dashboard showing 462 opioid deaths so far this year and nearly 3,500 suspected opioid overdose cases.

Our state’s Department of Education has a task force in place trying to address the opioid epidemic in Arizona schools and that group meeting for the first time this week. They want to get recommendations rolled out by the end of this year.

And our Amelia Fabiano is following up now on this drug debate. So, Amelia, you’re also hearing from people in the community about possibly getting naloxone in more Arizona schools.

Nikki Kelly, for those who aren’t familiar, naloxone or Narcan might be the brand name you’re more familiar with is an opioid overdose reversal drug. Now State Superintendent Tom Horn wants to get this in every single school across our state in case a student or really anyone on campus overdoses by accident or maybe they knew what they were taking but either way I spoke with one Valley Recovery Center expert who tells me
she agrees. A lot of this is gonna start in the home and having to accept that this is where we are in society. Brittany Sunbury is a nurse practitioner with Scottsdale Recovery Center.

She couldn’t stress to me enough how important she thinks this pushes to have the opioid reversal drugs in Arizona schools. Most of the overdoses, they don’t know that they’re taking fentanyl, right? That’s not how it was portrayed to them. This week the school training overdose preparedness and intelligence task force, or stop it, presented how they plan to tackle that and educating parents, teachers and students more on the dangers of fentanyl in general.

All of this is going to be evidence -based, well-structured. The task force is divided into four subcommittees that have a variety of people on them. The first subcommittee is focused on building a survey to give out to local superintendents in the coming weeks.

The second group focuses on best practices for staff and student training. As of right now, there’s nothing coming down as a standardized curriculum from the state. What we want to do is increase the number of students who receive opioid recognition overdose and reversal education, increase the availability of naloxone per student and school. The third group is focused on policy. We will be working on a standing order to administer language and we’re working with DHS on that and then also to create a draft of naloxone policy protocol based on the epinephrine policy and protocol for DHS and ADA for their consideration. And the final subcommittee is focused on how to overcome barriers with Naloxone, how schools can obtain it, distribute it and fund it. State Superintendent Tom Horn though saying this week that shouldn’t be an issue.

Narcan treatment which which saves lives is $40 so if we find ways to fund it great if not the schools can certainly afford it. And Sunbury agrees she believes parents can even come together to support their children’s schools to have life -saving doses on. We have a responsibility to protect our children.

So this statewide task force plans to meet every single month here to discuss all of these different topics, these different subcommittees that you just heard, and they’re hoping to get a final product, a final program, if you will, presented to the Department of Education by the end of the year for them to consider, and they’re hoping to be able to roll it out to schools and implement it in schools early next year.

Reporting live in downtown Phoenix, Amelia Fambiano, ABC 15 Arizona. You know, Amelia, thank you because it is really important for us to hear from all walks of life, especially those who are in the health care field that really does make it even more real.

Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center® holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2009. Call 602-346-9142.