Omaha public school nurses now trained to use Narcan

Published: Oct. 23, 2019 at 8:55 PM CDT
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When elementary school nurse Sarah Lawson first started working in the school system, she never imagined Narcan would be in her medicine cabinet.

It was paid for by a grant from Region Six, a local behavioral health organization.

"We always want to be prepared. My moto is to plan and be prepared. If the unseen happened we'd be prepared we'd have a plan," Lawson said.

Supervisor of Health Services at OPS, Lori Bouda, first started thinking Narcan in schools might be a reality around a year ago.

"We want it available for anyone in our building. We want to make sure they're safe and taken care of," Bouda said.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, Nebraska is below the national average when it comes to opioid use.

Dustin Talacko is a firefighter and taught the staff how to use the Naloxone.

"It seems like the school districts are very progressive so it didn't surprise me one bit when the approached me about Narcan," Talacko said.

Talacko said he's never responded to a school for an overdose but has seen plenty of teens outside of school in need of the life-saving medicine. His goal during the training was to encourage nurses to use it more often than not.

"It's very beginning. We're teaching our nurses, if you're unsure and suspect there might be an opioid issue there just give it," Talacko said. "No harm, no foul."

The next issue to tackle will be how to replace doses that expire or are used. Narcan has a shelf life of one-year and at $75 to $100 a dose, it's not a cheap commodity.