Montgomery Schools Will Allow Students to Carry Lifesaving Narcan

Montgomery County will now allow students to carry personally obtained Narcan — the lifesaving overdose reversal drug — on school grounds.

Students in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) are now allowed to carry “personally obtained” overdose-reversing nasal spray, also known as naloxone or Narcan. Opioid reversal medications (like naloxone/Narcan) work temporarily to counteract the toxic and mortal effects of an opioid overdose. Notably, naloxone is considered safe to administer even if symptoms are not due to an opioid overdose, or if an individual is unconscious.

Narcan is currently available in every MCPS school and, according to reporting, has been used 15 times during the 2022-23 school year on school grounds. MCPS’ regulations for Emergency Care for Individuals Experiencing Symptoms of Opioid Overdose detail the school system’s updated policy for “personal obtained naloxone”:

    1. MCPS staff members may choose to complete training independently and carry naloxone on MCPS property. Staff should be aware of their school’s Emergency Care Plan, which outlines specific procedures for emergency treatment of the ill and/or injured, as set forth in MCPS Regulation, EBJ- RA, Emergency Care and First Aid in Schools.
    2. Students who carry naloxone on MCPS property and during school- sponsored activities are not subject to disciplinary action solely for carrying naloxone.
    3. Students are strongly encouraged to seek the assistance of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) or MCPS personnel, and/or contact 911, in the event of a suspected opioid overdose.

MCPS’ regulations also outline the statewide policy background for Maryland schools to have and use Narcan on school property:

Opioid overdose and deaths are an epidemic nationally and in the state of Maryland. The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) recognize the role of schools and School Health Montgomery County Department of School Health Services (SHS) in responding to this epidemic. The Maryland “Start Talking Maryland Act,” effective July 1, 2017, requires public schools to obtain and store naloxone or other opioid overdose reversal medication, and to train and authorize certain persons to administer it to students or other individuals on school grounds.

In addition to the newly updated personally obtained policy, the statewide policy led to MCPS establishing regulations to stock naloxone in MCPS buildings, train school staff on its usage, and to notify parents/guardians of use on MCPS property.
According to reporting:

MCPS wants students to be equipped with Narcan and undergo 30-minute training sessions offered by the county. Currently, all county schools are stocked with Narcan as an emergency medication and it is available for free to county residents without a prescription.

Students who attend training sessions can go home with a free kit that contains two doses of Narcan.