Anne Arundel County schools training personnel to use heroin overdose drug

Posted at 6:43 PM, Nov 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-07 09:20:49-05

Nurses and medical professionals at Anne County Public Schools are training and preparing should a student overdose. 

"I didn't want to wait for a child to die before I did something about it," Karen Siska-Creel, the school health director for the Anne Arundel County Department of Health, said. 

But she wanted to be proactive. 

"I wanted all of our staff trained on first awareness, you know, what is heroin? How is it affecting our state? How is it affecting our county," Siska-Creel asked. 

She wanted kits to reverse the effects of an overdose in every school in the county. With a rising heroin epidemic, Siska-Creel says the move was necessary. 

"Our hope is that we wouldn't have to use it, but we're aware that that is always a possible," she said. 

School nurse Susan Comly, also with the health department, is one of dozens in the county now trained to use Naloxone - a drug that reverses the effect of the opioid. 

"We actually had hands on training with the Naloxone in order to feel comfortable with it and that we'd  know how to use it in the event that it was needed," Comly said. 

And 10 days after the life-saving drug was implemented, it had to be used -- saving the life of one student. 

Comly says it's only a temporary fix. 

"It's not a fix and then you go on with your day. It is literally you're saving their life and then we need to follow up with, you know, going to the hospital," she said. 

Siska-Creel says she's happy the drug was in place, despite the skepticism she initially faces, and feedback from parents has been positive. 

It cost the school district more than $12,000 to stock every school with Naloxone. 

Siska-Keel says the next step is teaching more people in the schools how to use the drug to potentially save more lives. 

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