Pennsylvania school districts will be eligible to receive one free carton of Narcan nasal spray - which can reverse the effects of a heroin overdose - under a partnership between the state and the Radnor-based maker of the drug, Gov. Wolf announced Monday.
Pennsylvania would be the first state to implement the program, sponsored by Adapt Pharma and the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, part of the Clinton Foundation.
Pennsylvania public high schools also will have access to new educational materials and training developed by the National Association of School Nurses.
Narcan nasal spray is the only FDA-approved, ready-to-use, needle-free nasal spray version of naloxone hydrochloride, used for the emergency treatment of opioid overdose.
The state Health Department, through school nurses, will help with the distribution. Each carton contains two doses of the drug.
Adapt Pharma has provided a grant to the National Association of School Nurses to develop educational materials for nurses, students, and families to prevent drug overdoses.
At a news conference, state officials noted that in rural areas, it might take longer for emergency responders to reach patients, and so stocking the drug on school grounds could prevent deaths.
State officials said they did not keep track of in-school overdoses. Thom Duffy, executive director of marketing at Adapt, said he was not aware of any in Pennsylvania; however, some schools have been stocking the antidote.
Last week, Delaware County officials said the county's police officers would be the first in the state to use the newly developed Narcan spray.
Each of the nearly 400 police vehicles will be equipped with two 4-milligram applicators at a cost of $37.50 per dose.
In just over a year, police have saved 170 lives with naloxone, Delaware County officials said. They also said the number of heroin deaths continues to rise, with 191 drug overdoses in the county last year.