The San Mateo County Coalition for Safe Schools and Communities launched its Naloxone Toolkit in December 2022 to help prepare school staff to safely use naloxone to reverse opioid overdoses that may occur on their campuses.
Several San Mateo County school districts and private schools have already completed the onboarding process and received a supply of naloxone (also known by the brand name Narcan), with many others working on completing the required steps to participate in the program.
Naloxone is a life-saving medication that can reverse an opioid overdose while having little to no other effect on an individual if opioids are not present in their system. Naloxone works by blocking the opioid receptor sites, thereby quickly reversing the toxic effects of the overdose.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved naloxone to treat overdoses in 1971, and paramedics and hospitals have been using it to successfully reverse opioid overdoses for decades. Naloxone requires a prescription, which the San Mateo County Office of Education has obtained through a Statewide Standing Order for schools and districts participating in the program.
The County supports the Coalition for Safe Schools and Communities with funds from the local Measure K half-cent sales tax. County leaders also play key roles in the coalition.
Naloxone is not a controlled substance and is not habit forming. It has few known adverse effects and no potential for abuse. It has not been shown to encourage drug use and has no weight or age-based limits, making it a good fit for schools.
The Naloxone Toolkit includes information on opioids and outlines the steps schools need to follow to participate in the Naloxone Program for Schools.
For example, the Toolkit explains what opioids are and how they impact the human body; addresses the emergence and specific dangers of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that has proven particularly dangerous to youth; describes the science behind an opioid overdose; and explains how to recognize and respond to a suspected opioid overdose, including the administration of naloxone.
The Toolkit also lays out the steps for implementing the Naloxone for Schools Program, which include training; establishing and filling roles; addressing storage, use, and reporting systems; and communicating with the school community.
The San Mateo County Office of Education is leading this work for the Coalition and is partnering with the State of California to offer the Naloxone Distribution Project (NDP) to San Mateo County schools. The NDP is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and administered by the Department of Health Care Services to combat opioid overdose-related deaths in California.
"The opioid epidemic is affecting families and communities everywhere, and schools must be prepared to respond to this public health crisis," shared San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools Nancy Magee. "The Naloxone Toolkit supplements the awareness and prevention work education leaders are already doing to help keep our students and communities safe."
The Coalition for Safe Schools and Communities is a collaborative, multi-agency group that includes representatives from across San Mateo County in education, law enforcement, fire, public safety, behavioral health, child welfare, probation, county counsel, local government, and other youth-serving organizations in San Mateo County.
The Coalition's mission is to identify and address the safety needs of San Mateo County youth by developing and implementing best practices in emergency preparedness, youth mental health, and crisis response, supported by a legally sound information sharing framework.
The original news release can be found on the San Mateo County Office of Education's website.
Executive Director, Strategy and Communication
San Mateo County Office of Education