Zorn bill to help stop overdoses in schools sent to governor

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday sent to the governor bipartisan legislation that would allow school districts in the state to stock naloxone, an antidote used to treat an opioid overdose in an emergency situation.

Senate Bills 805 and 806 are sponsored by Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, and Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint.

“The alarming rise of opioid and prescription drug abuse in our communities and among our children is a matter of life and death and must be addressed,” Zorn said. “I look forward to seeing the governor sign this legislation to help save lives by giving our schools the option to have a remedy on hand with proven results in reversing the effects of opioid overdose.”

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.

The bills outline some specific requirements for school districts that decide to obtain the drug, including that:

  • There must be at least two employees in the school district trained to administer the drug;
  • The training must be approved by a licensed professional nurse;
  • School personnel must call 911 if they believe a pupil is having an overdose; and
  • School employees must notify the parents or legal guardians of students who were administered the drug and encourage them to seek substance abuse treatment for the pupils.

“These measures are about doing what we can to prevent opioid deaths in our schools,” Zorn said. “However, we must remain focused on stopping prescription drug abuse altogether in order to make a real, long-term difference in the future of our children and our state.”

If the bills are signed, Michigan would become the eighth state in the country to allow school personnel access to the lifesaving drug.

Zorn and Ananich 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.