Bipartisan Senate package introduced to help fight overdoses in schools

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn and Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich on Wednesday introduced Senate legislation that would allow Michigan school districts to stock naloxone, an antidote used to treat an opioid overdose in an emergency situation.

“I’ve met with local school officials, community hospital leaders and area doctors, and we all understand that the risk of opioid overdoses or deaths in our schools cannot be taken lightly,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Naloxone is proven to reverse the effects of opioid overdose, and this package of bills provide schools the option to have this lifesaving remedy at the ready.”

In June 2015, Gov. Snyder created the Michigan Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Task Force, a multi-stakeholder group formed to create a comprehensive statewide action plan to address prescription drug and opioid abuse. One of the many recommendations from the task force was to expand access to naloxone.

“Bringing together experts and policymakers from all different backgrounds is critical to turning the tide on this epidemic,” said Ananich, D-Flint, who served on the task force. “A focus on prevention, treatment and enforcement will really make a difference in our communities.”

Senate Bills 805 and 806 would:
• Broaden access to naloxone by allowing school districts to obtain a prescription;
• Require schools that choose to stock naloxone to work with the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and school health organizations to implement rules and onsite instruction for those administering it — licensed nurses or school employees;
• Specify that employees administering naloxone are immune from criminal and civil liability if they act in accordance with the rules and are legally allowed to administer the drug; and,
• Require districts that choose to stock naloxone to annually report the number of pupils who were administered the drug to the MDE.

Ananich and Zorn began discussions on ways to prevent opioid abuse when they served together in the Michigan House. Genesee and Monroe counties are among the hardest hit by drug overdoses in the state.

The bills have been referred to the Senate Health Policy Committee for consideration.