Local school system equipping all schools with Narcan

International overdose awareness day is observed by health care professionals like Doctor Dina Burstein each year, to address a growing problem in southern New England and across the U.S.

"It’s huge, and it’s continuing to grow and be a huge problem. In the last few years overdose deaths have surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the number one killer amongst many different age groups,”says Burstein.
Burstein, is a research associate at the Rhode Island Hospital Injury Prevention Center. She says everyone should be aware there are preventative actions to take, in order to block or reverse the effects of an overdose before it takes a life.

"If you yourself may feel at risk for an overdose or a loved one or a friend, that Naloxone is actually available at many different pharmacies," she says.
Health care professionals are not the only ones utilizing Naloxone, also known as Narcan. For the first time, the Dartmouth schools system is making it available if an emergency was ever to occur.
"We see the issue of the substance abuse happening across the country especially in our area. It’s important, it’s important to be prepared for any kind of an issue," says Superintendent of Dartmouth Schools, Dr. Bonnie Gifford.
Superintendent Dr. Bonnie Gifford says each of their 6 schools will be equip with two Narcan kits, which school nurses and administration will be trained to use.

"You never know who is coming through your door could it be a parent picking kids up, or people attending an event, and so all of the schools will have them,” says Dr. Gifford.

"I think the more that it’s out there, the more people are educated and know how to use it, the more lives we will save,” adds Burstein.

©WLNE-TV / ABC6 2016