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Lucas County health department increases Narcan access in schools

A TLCHD overdose prevention advocate said 6,500 Narcan kits have been distributed to the community. Last year, 276 people died from overdoses in Lucas County.

TOLEDO, Ohio — According to ProMedica, 9% of high school seniors in the Toledo Public School District admitted to trying an opiate they had not been prescribed.

Last year, 276 people died from overdoses in Lucas County.

The Toledo Police Department has also reported rainbow fentanyl in Lucas County. Mahjida Steffin, an overdose prevention advocate with the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department said the department is increasing access to the life-saving drug Narcan, also known as Naloxone, especially in areas with children.

WTOL 11 reached out to multiple schools in the area to see if they have Narcan in their buildings, and Maumee High School, Southview High School, and the entire Toledo Public School District said either their school nurses, resource officers or both carry Narcan with them.

Readily-available Narcan is an important step in the fight against overdose deaths, especially because children and adolescents can be susceptible to pressures to try illegal substances, Steffin said.

"Youth don't really understand consequences, and there's a lot of peer pressure that goes into drug use as well, so they could make a very fatal mistake taking something that their friend gives them, not knowing what the makeup of that is," she said.

TLCHD has worked directly with school systems like TPS to help them access Narcan, and Steffin said she would gladly help any other local school set up programs as well.

Ohio Pharmacist Emmanuel Ayanjoke said Narcan should be in more than just the hands of teachers and first responders though. Everyone should, he said.

He said with fast-acting fentanyl now being responsible for many overdoses, there are instances where there is only time for the person in the room to act, but they can only do so if they have Narcan on hand.

"If Narcan is available to everyone in the community, there's a high chance they could administer it to a person in that case," Ayanjoke said. "So definitely we need to have it more out there, we need to fight the stigmatization about having Narcan on hand because it's really something that could save a life."

TLCHD agrees with Ayanjoke and increased public access to Narcan within the last year.

"This year so far, we've already done another 6,500 distributed to the community," Steffin said.

There is even a vending machine installed inside the Lucas County Jail. But instead of candy and peanuts, it's full of free Narcan.

Ayanjoke said most insurances will cover Narcan with no co-pay, as will government-run providers like Medicare and Medicaid.

ProMedica representatives also stated recently there are plans to install Narcan kits on TPS school walls within the coming months.

RELATED: Lucas County Sheriff's Office separates fact from fiction on 'rainbow fentanyl'

RELATED: 'One Pill Can Kill' operation brings seizure of more than 4.7 million deadly doses of fentanyl in Ohio

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