NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - There will soon be a new addition to nurses' offices in New Hanover County elementary schools.
Elementary school nurses will have access to Naloxone, a drug used to reverse opioid overdoses. New Hanover County equipped middle and high school nurses with the drug last school year.
Carla Turner, the personal health services manager for the New Hanover County Health Department, said the decision to include Naloxone in elementary schools was made after the New Hanover County Schools safety summit.
"I came back and sat with my health director and our school nurses supervisor and I said, 'Why in the world don't we have it in our elementary schools?'" Turner said. "Hopefully they're not going to have an exposure to those types of things while in school, but we also have parents who come to school. We have adults that are faculty and staff and we have people just in the surrounding neighborhoods. Anything can happen in the parking lot."
The county received 200 two-dose Naloxone kits through a community grant from Kaleo Pharmaceuticals. The purpose of the grant is to distribute the auto-injecting Naloxone kits to the community.
"It is a problem. There's no denying that we have an issue in New Hanover County and although no one wants to face up to the fact that we have this issue in New Hanover County, the fact is we do and now we have something in place that we can use to reverse the effects of an overdose," Turner said.
Health department officials are working to distribute the kits to the public free of charge.
"Anyone who has a loved one or a friend or someone they know who could potentially suffer from an overdose at some point, we encourage them to come in," Turner said. "Come into our building at 2023 South 17th Street and say, 'I'd like some Naloxone.'"
A nurse will take a name for record keeping purposes and then educate the person on using the kit. Community groups are also encouraged to have Naloxone on hand.
"We want to get it distributed into the community so if there are citizen groups or anyone who has a group of folks who would like to have some, they can call me at the health department or they can call our main number and ask for me and I can come to one of their meetings and distribute it to them there," Turner said.