Oregon Health Authority Plans to boost Naloxone Availability in Schools
December 5th, 2023
SALEM, Ore. — Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has announced plans to offer free opioid overdose reversal kits to middle and high schools throughout the state.
The effort is an expansion of the Save Lives Oregon (SLO) Initiative’s Harm Reduction Clearinghouse Project.
The SLO Harm Reduction Clearinghouse began during COVID and has provided naloxone and other harm reduction supplies at no cost to agencies around the state that directly engage with people at highest risk of substance use related overdose, infections, and injuries.
The expansion of the Harm Reduction Clearinghouse Project to support schools to access naloxone was made possible through one-time funding from the Oregon’s Opioid Settlement Prevention, Treatment and Recovery Board.
The Oregon Department of Education last week notified school district leaders about the availability of naloxone for schools, registration opened Nov. 29 and as of today 505 total schools, colleges, and universities have requested to receive reversal kits.
The intent is to help school districts increase access to overdose reversal kits within their schools for use in the event of an opioid overdose emergency at or near a school campus.
“The opioid epidemic and overdose crisis impacts every community in Oregon. While overdose events on school property are rare, our school communities should be prepared to respond to an overdose medical emergency,” said Ebony Clarke, OHA’s director of behavioral health.
Every middle and high school is eligible to receive up to three opioid overdose reversal kits. The kits contain a wall mounted naloxone box, instructions, emergency medical supplies, and eight doses of the opioid antagonist, naloxone nasal spray.
Naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal medication, can restore breathing while waiting for emergency medical services to arrive. Access to naloxone is necessary for school staff to respond to an opioid overdose on or near a school campus.
Eligible schools must serve students seventh grade or higher. The program is open to all public, private, charter schools, colleges and universities or tribal communities located in Oregon.
For more information, including the link to the online application, please visit the SLO website.
The SLO Clearinghouse has provided no-cost supplies to more than 280 organizations and agencies across Oregon and Tribal communities, including harm reduction organizations, local public health and behavioral health agencies, law enforcement, first responders, community health clinics, substance use disorder facilities and hospital-based programs.
The Harm Reduction Clearinghouse has distributed more than 335,500 doses of naloxone to agencies that directly distribute naloxone to people at risk of opioid overdose since 2022, according to OHA estimates.