Overdose medication now required in all Minnesota schools

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(ABC 6 News) – Beginning this upcoming school year, all school districts in Minnesota will be required to have a supply of overdose medication on hand at campuses districtwide.

The new requirement comes as the number of deadly overdoses among teens in Minnesota is on the rise. Last year alone, overdose deaths among young Minnesotans rose by 49%.

In response, Minnesota lawmakers passed a bill during the 2023 legislative session that mandates schools to carry two doses of nasal naloxone in school buildings districtwide.

Naloxone, also commonly known as Narcan, works by reversing the effects of opioids to stop an overdose.

“Naloxone is a relatively inexpensive medication, that is simple to administer, it’s safe and most importantly it saves lives,” said DFL Representative Patty Acomb said at a committee back in March.

In response to the new law, Albert Lea schools have updated their policy on overdose medication in schools.

Before the law change, only a handful of campuses in Albert Lea had the anti-overdose medication on hand. But, at the most recent school board meeting, the policy was updated to require schools to have two doses of naloxone in accordance with the new law.

“They’re getting in fresh from the state, and evidently, the state is bringing down new mandates daily,” said Bruce Olson, Treasurer of the Albert Lea school board.

The district is currently setting up a team for the implementation of the new policy in schools. It’s expected to be made up of school nurses, the superintendent, and possibly some school board members and principals.

“It’ll be a good policy. I can see the benefits of it,” said Olson. “School districts are released from any liability if something were to happen.”

Still, questions remain over the logistics of the policy and how it will be properly implemented.

“Are we gonna need them in the field house, at athletic events? Are we gonna need a couple doses there, and if so, who’s gonna be the administrator of them when they’re there? We don’t know if we have to have them on school buses.” said Olson about the uncertainties of the new policy.

The new policy aims to work as a safety net in response to the increasing amount of overdoses in young people across Minnesota and the nation.