State Budget Expands the Availability of Naloxone in Schools
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York State’s fight against opioid addiction has been strengthened by new funding to provide naloxone kits to schools statewide and training for school personnel.
“By making this investment to provide naloxone kits and training for schools, we are continuing to save lives in the fight against opioid use and addiction,” Governor Cuomo said. “This is an epidemic that disproportionately impacts young New Yorkers and has caused far too much needless tragedy in every corner of the state. This funding will go a long way toward saving young lives, and I am proud to have included it in this year’s Budget.”
Included as part of the 2015-16 New York State Budget, $272,000 in funding will be used to offer training for school nurses and other personnel from the state’s approximately 3,000 school districts. Those who complete the training will receive naloxone kits for their schools. While naloxone kits and training have been available to school personnel under Governor Cuomo’s Combat Heroin campaign, this funding is specifically earmarked for schools. Final regulations establishing the program’s implementation are currently being drafted in conjunction with the State Education Department. The training is expected to be similar to what is already in use for training first responders and community members.
“Heroin and opioid abuse is one of the greatest threats facing the health and well-being of New Yorkers,” said acting New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “Properly addressing this issue requires that we train as many people as possible in how to identify and reverse overdoses. This funding helps ensure that school nurses and officials have the skills and resources needed to do just that.”
The increased availability of naloxone, a medication which reverses an opioid overdose, is one of the priorities at the center of Governor Cuomo’s fight to end opioid abuse in New York State. When administered, it can reverse the effects of an overdose by temporarily blocking the effects of the opioid, whether illicit or prescription, allowing the individual to regain consciousness and resume normal breathing. It poses no danger to persons who otherwise might come into contact with it and it is not the kind of medication that can be abused.
Since Governor Cuomo signed a legislative package to combat this epidemic into law last year, New York State has pursued one of the most aggressive campaigns against opioid overdoses in the nation by addressing the problem from several different angles. There are currently more than 45,000 first responders and community members trained in the use of naloxone when an opioid overdose occurs, and more than 500 lives have been saved in the last year alone.
Additionally in 2014, Governor Cuomo launched the Combat Heroin & Prescription Drug Abuse Campaign to inform and educate New Yorkers about the risks of heroin and prescription opioid use. At the Combat Heroin website, New Yorkers can find information about warning signs of heroin and opioid abuse and misuse, access to Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services treatment providers, and guidance to help parents talk to their children and health care professionals talk with their patients.
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