Narcan now stocked in DHS Nurse’s Office


Opioids, a medical pain reliever, have become a major issue in communities across the world, even within ours. Within the first six months of 2016, Massachusetts dealt with 488 confirmed cases of opioid overdose deaths, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Dartmouth’s school system, along with many others across New England, have taken precautions and stocked up on Naloxone (more commonly referred to as Narcan.)

Each of the Dartmouth Public Schools has been supplied with two Narcan kits which they are able spray into an overdose victim’s nostrils in order to reverse the opioid effects and allow the victim to breathe normally again. It has some severe side effects such as seizures, coma, or even death. Therefore, it poses a fair amount of danger, but could still save a life. As a result, our school nurses are currently being taught how exactly they should go about using Narcan.

During our most recent early release day, the school nurses were trained on how to use Narcan, according to DHS Nurse Marisha Wildrick. A physician has approved the order saying DPS was able to carry the life-saving drug.

Mrs. Wildrick said that carrying Narcan is not only meant to possibly save the lives of students, but also faculty, parents, and school visitors who may have overdosed on opioids while on school grounds.

Mrs. Wildrick believes it is great that this school system is taking the initiative to help addicts and save lives, but that we definitely need to improve our way of handling the opioid problem. “This is a struggle touching many members of this community. I think that along with the life-saving drug, more resources need to be put in place to conquer this epidemic,” said Mrs. Wildrick.

Nurse Julie Giordano, who is also the mother of DHS junior Felisha Moniz and sophomore Samantha Moniz, has lost two of her previous partners due to opioid overdoses. One of them was a young nurse who thought, similar to many cases, that she would never be one of those people you hear about on the news who dies due to a drug overdose. Her father had been addicted to opioids and ended up dying because of them. Her first time using drugs she died of an overdose.

Because of this, Ms. Giordano thinks it is a great idea for schools to be carrying Narcan. She said, “No one’s parents want to be digging up coffins when all their kid needed was a spray up the nose.”

“There is such a stigma around addicts like they are the worst people. Yes, some of them do awful things while using, but without Narcan and treatment, you are not giving people the chance to turn their lives around and become better people,” said Ms. Giordano.