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Oregon City School Board embraces naloxone in schools

Board members voted unanimously to add naloxone, commonly known as Narcan — the spray that reverses opioid overdoses — to the district's medicine policy.

OREGON CITY, Ore. — The Oregon City School District will begin stocking naloxone in schools and provide training in its use for reversing opioid overdoses after a unanimous vote by the school board Monday evening.

With the powerful synthetic drug fentanyl becoming increasingly common in U.S. street drugs, more frequent and deadly overdoses have become another hallmark of the opioid epidemic.

RELATED: Oregon Poison Center issues public warning about fentanyl, counterfeit opioid pills

Overdoses have occurred in middle and high school students, recently claiming the lives of two Portland teenagers. In response, some districts have turned to stocking naloxone, often seen under the brand name Narcan, in an effort to stop overdoses before they end in tragedy.

“This is a life-saving policy,” said Oregon City board member Michele Stroh. “It’s a way to get ahead of the problem and I thank my fellow board members for approving it."

KGW spoke to Stroh last week. She lost her son, Keaton, when he overdosed on counterfeit oxycodone pills that were laced fentanyl in 2020. Since then, she's made it her mission to get Narcan in each and every school.

“I lost my son after he took just one fake pill with fentanyl so I know how very real these risks are for everyone,” Stroh said.

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Oregon City School District administrators said in a statement that Narcan kits will be available in every one of their schools, as well as the football system. Meanwhile, district nurses are training staff on how to use the kits in the event of an overdose. They expect the naloxone to be delivered to schools by next week.

“We are also focusing on prevention,” Stroh continued. “Today, the school district and its community partners are kicking off an awareness effort to inform parents of the risks of fake pills containing deadly fentanyl."

Clackamas County Public Health reported that the number of confirmed deaths attributed to fentanyl increased 89% in the county between 2020 and 2021.

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