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Board of Education OKs Narcan policy for Montville schools

Montville — The Board of Education moved Tuesday night to adopt a naloxone policy for all Montville schools.

Naloxone, commonly known by the brand name Narcan, is an inexpensive and effective drug used for the emergency treatment of opioid overdoses. Narcan is typically administered as a nasal spray or it can be given via injection.

Superintendent Laurie Pallin said board member Timothy Shanahan had requested the item be added to the board's meeting agenda in December, and that since then, the issue has become especially important given recent news in the state. She said the decision was a proactive step to ensure the district is prepared in the case of an overdose.

A 13-year-old boy in Hartford died over the weekend after suffering an overdose days earlier at school. The school was closed earlier this week for a second decontamination after police found 40 small bags of powdered fentanyl in two classrooms and the gymnasium, according to NBC Connecticut.

Shanahan said help can be five or 10 minutes away in the case of an overdose at school, but that naloxone can be administered much quicker if it is kept at the school. He said there are many resources to help with funding the training and administration of the medicine.

Many questions arose during the board's discussion of the policy.

One board member asked whether the naloxone would be accessible for after-hours use and which staff members would be trained to administer it. Another asked if the board wanted to restrict the policy to the middle and high schools as indicated in the agenda item.

The motion that passed stated naloxone would be stored in all Montville schools, and that the board's policy committee would be tasked with refining a proposed policy regarding its administration and related training of staff.

Pallin said Maria Wilcox, the district's nursing supervisor, is on board with the plans and that the policy committee will meet next week to discuss after-hours use.

Naloxone policies in the region

Montville is not the first school district in the region to implement such a policy, and other schools are considering proactive steps as well.

Both Groton and Stonington school districts store naloxone in both middle and high schools.

Groton has had a school policy on the administration of naloxone during school hours since early 2020, according to Superintendent Susan Austin.

Austin said in an email Thursday she would be working with Groton Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention, or GASP, to plan a summit for students and families in the near future.

In 2019, the Stonington school board adopted a policy that stated naloxone would be kept on hand in the schools and detailed a protocol about when and how to administer it as well as how to report its use.

Stonington Superintendent of Schools Van Riley said the school system's medical director, Dr. Vijay K. Sikand, is working on getting naloxone in all the schools. He said all school nurses are trained annually in adminstering Narcan.

Michael O'Farrell, a spokeman for Norwich Free Academy, said naloxone has been available at the school's medical centers and safety department for at least the past three years. He said there is no record that the drug has been used.

"Prepare for the worst and hope for the best," O'Farrell said. "We are prepared, and it's in multiple locations on campus."

The New London school district does not store naloxone at any of its schools, but Superintendent Cynthia Ritchie said its contracted nurses are trained to use it. She said a proposed policy will be discussed at the next policy committee meeting in February.

Day Staff Writers Kimberly Drelich, Greg Smith, Claire Bessette and Joe Wojtas contributed to this report.

j.vazquez@theday.com

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