SAN DIEGO, Calif (KGTV) - Officials with the County Office of Education say they're looking into training teachers to use and administer Narcan, an FRA-approved drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
"Even one overdose is too many," says COE Spokesperson Music Watson. "We're committed to making sure that when students are in school that they're safe and we've got the resources necessary to keep them alive."
The Office of Education has met with the DEA to talk about funding and training.
According to San Diego Unified School District, every Middle and High School in the district already has Narcan on campus. All school nurses and health techs are trained to recognize the signs of an opioid overdose and administer the medicine. The district also says all of their 38 police officers assigned to patrol campus carry the drug on them. So far, the district says no one has had to use it.
But opioid use is skyrocketing in San Diego, as are deaths from overdoses.
According to information from the County’s 2018 Prescription Drug Abuse Report Card, there were 572 deaths in 2017 related to prescription or illegal drug overdoses. That's an 8% rise from 2016.
Of those, 84 were from Fentanyl, a powerful opioid that can cause an overdose with even a small trace.
Parents and overdose awareness advocates say that drug worries them the most, because kids can wind up ingesting it without even knowing.
"Kids experiment, we've known that forever," says Gretchen Burns Bergman, the founder of A New PATH and Mom's United. "Now they can be experimenting and get a hold of something that they don't even realize is Fentanyl laced."
Bergman has been working to promote Narcan's use across the country. She wants to see more people on campus trained to use it.
"The school is the next obvious place," says Bergman.
That's the message from Sherrie Rubin as well. Her son, Aaron, nearly died from an overdose in 2005. She created Hope2Gether to spread the word about the dangers of opiates.
"We have to be able to have the knowledge to protect our family, ourselves, our students, our neighbors," says Rubin. "If the community is on the same page, we will thrive. If we're not on the same page, we won't have a community left."