Narcan added to all Columbia County high schools in an effort to battle opioid crisis


There’s a new addition to some medical kits in Columbia County schools.

This year, the school board approved adding Narcan to all county high schools.

MCG Emergency Medicine Dr. Mark Lopez says he sees people who have overdosed on some type of opioid come to the Emergency Room at Augusta University Medical Center on a daily basis.

Now, Columbia County schools are trying to get ahead of the opioid epidemic.

“It became necessary to have it,” said Director of School Health Lisa Whitlock.

Each high school has two Narcan sprays that can be administered if needed.

“A program became available through the Narcan manufacturer to provide Narcan to every school in the United States,” said Whitlock.

Whitlock says it’s a proactive measure.

“It seems to be getting worse and worse. It used to be that people were using the pills Oxycodone, Hydrocodone… but they’ve moved quickly into using heroin,” said Dr. Lopez.

Dr. Lopez explains how the Narcan spray works.

“The drug itself is a competitor. So, where heroin or Oxycodone would interact with the brain, Narcan comes and interacts in the same place; therefore the heroin can’t do it’s affect on the brain,” said Dr. Lopez

Dr. Lopez says after the spray is administered, the person has about an hour to get to an ER for treatment.

“We’ve trained the school nurses, of course, on administrating Narcan. All the administrators in the high schools have been trained and the police officers,” said Whitlock.

To the families of the patients Dr. Lopez treats, it’s a $40 purchase that could save a life.

“Usually, I recommend to the families to go buy some Narcan. I’ll write them a prescription if I need to,” said Dr. Lopez.

In regards to the students of Columbia County high schools, it’s something school leaders hope they never have to use.

“You hope you never have to use it but it sure is nice to have it there when you do need it,” said Whitlock.

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