Florida schools could soon be allowed to buy drugs to treat heroin overdoses


  • Photo by Mark Oniffrey/Wikimedia Commons
Medicine cabinets at Florida schools could get a new addition: an antidote for people who overdose on opioids such as heroin.

A bill that will be considered Tuesday by the Senate Education Committee would allow schools to purchase naloxone, a drug that can be injected or sprayed nasally to revive people who are not breathing.

Under the proposal (SB 120), filed by Sen. Jason Pizzo, D-North Miami Beach, all Florida public schools would have the option to purchase the drug “for use in the event a student has an opioid overdose.” Schools would be allowed to enter into an agreement with a wholesale distributor or manufacturer to ensure they are getting naloxone at “fair-market, free, or reduced prices.”
The bill would require the drug to be kept in secure locations on campuses. And before school employees could administer the drug, they would have to be trained to recognize an opioid overdose and follow a protocol developed by a physician.

If trained school employees administer the drug because they believe a student is overdosing, and an injury results, the bill says school districts and employees would not be held liable. An exception would be if the employees’ actions are “willful and wanton.”

The bill is filed for the 2020 legislative session, which starts Jan. 14. Rep. Joe Geller, D-Aventura, has filed an identical bill (HB 331) in the House.

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