FORT MYERS, Fla. — A Florida state law allowing school districts to purchase Narcan, a medication that can reverse certain drug overdoses, is being discussed in Lee County.
On Wednesday, the School District of Lee County held a workshop where school board members learned more about how the medication would be brought into their schools.
Heidi Webb, CEO of the local non-profit Kimmie’s Recovery Zone, spoke with Fox 4 about the need for the nasal spray medication in schools.
“It’s gonna happen. It’s in the parking lots, in the bathrooms, it's in the hallways,” said Webb.
She said opioids like Fentanyl and other prescription pain medications are infiltrating school districts around the country and right here in Lee County.
“[We] received a phone call from a mother in Cape Coral whose child had died from an overdose of Fentanyl while in school," said Webb.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that median monthly overdose deaths among persons aged 10–19 years (adolescents) increased 109% from July–December 2019 to July–December 2021.
The CDC reports that among persons aged 14–18 years, overdose deaths increased 94% from 2019 to 2020 and 20% from 2020 to 2021.
Lee School Board Members learned more about how Narcan would be used and who would train school staff to administer it to students.
“We have already trained all of the school resource officers [in the] over 100 schools in Lee County,” said Webb.
Webb said the goal of Kimmie's Recovery Zone goes beyond administering Narcan.
“If we reduce the stigma and we have conversations... surrounding mental health and substance use disorder, that creates change,” said Webb.
A change Lee School Board Members welcomed during the workshop.
“I think it's better being safe than sorry,” said Melisa Giovannelli, who represents District 2.
“I know as a parent it’s something that its something constantly on your mind,” said Samuel Fisher of District 1.
That concern is also on Webb's mind. She said right now the risk has never been higher when it comes to the danger from opioids.
“But if they have Narcan on hand... it's a breath of life... they have a chance,” said Webb.