U.S. Surgeon General Released Public Health Advisory on Opioid Antidote

In April 2018, the U.S. Surgeon General issued a Public Health Advisory emphasizing the importance of the overdose-reversing drug Naloxone and encouraging individuals and entities to carry or have available the potentially life-saving medication. This Advisory comes at a time when individuals, families, and communities across our country are being significantly affected by the opioid epidemic. As reported in the Advisory, overdose deaths from prescription and illicit opioids have doubled in recent years. Unfortunately, our schools are not immune to the spread of the opioid epidemic. The Advisory explains that Naloxone is a safe opioid antagonist that temporarily reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, and urges greater availability of Naloxone as a key part of the public health response to the opioid epidemic.

In Illinois, schools may maintain a supply of and administer an undesignated opioid antidote in school, such as Naloxone. As initially authorized by Lali’s Law in 2015 and amended since then (105 ILCS 5/22-30; 23 Ill.Adm.Code 1.540), schools have the authority to authorize a school nurse or trained personnel to administer an opioid antagonist to any person that the school nurse or trained personnel in good faith believes is having an opioid overdose while in school, at a school-sponsored activity, under the supervision of school personnel, or during before-or-after school activities. The school nurse or trained personnel may carry an opioid antagonist on their person while in school or at a school-sponsored activity.

Schools must maintain the undesignated supply of opioid antagonists in a secure location, and a prescription in the name of the school is required, whether the opioid antagonist is purchased by or provided free to the school. If an opioid antagonist is administered, the school must immediately activate its EMS system and notify the student’s parents, as well as notify the prescribing health care professional within 24 hours. The school also must submit a report to ISBE within three days of the administration (ISBE Reporting Form). In addition, mandated annual training (subject to specific requirements) is required prior to any trained personnel’s administration of an opioid antagonist.

A school that maintains an undesignated supply of opioid antagonists must notify parents that the school has issued a standing protocol and that a student may be administered an opioid antagonist as permitted by law. This notification must include indemnification language and be provided at the start of each school year or at the time of enrollment for students enrolling for the first time, and the acknowledgement must be signed by parents and returned to the school. Parents who do not want their child to be administered an opioid antagonist may submit a written request to the school. The school then must provide the name of that student to the school nurse and any trained personnel.

Please contact Jennifer Mueller with your questions regarding having an undesignated supply of opioid antagonists available in school or about your administration of medication policy and practices in general.

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