WASHINGTON – With drug overdose deaths among adolescents doubling from 2019 to 2020, the White House is urging all schools to stock naloxone, a potentially life-saving medication that can reverse opioid overdoses. In a letter addressed to educators, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director, Dr. Rahul Gupta, and US Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, not only recommend that every school should have naloxone but that they should also provide training to students and faculty on how to administer it.
“As you have seen in your schools and communities, the rise of illicit fentanyl and its trafficking via social media is having a disproportionate impact on our children,” the letter reads. “That’s because a teenager today can log onto social media with a smartphone and buy what they think is an opioid pain medicine or a prescription stimulant to help them study—and instead die from one pill that actually has fentanyl in it. Just one pill. And data show that two-thirds of adolescent drug poisoning deaths occurred with a potential bystander nearby, but naloxone was often not administered.”
In addition to advocating for naloxone, Gupta and Cardona are urging schools to consider implementing programs that focus on preventing drug use among adolescents and educating them about the dangers of fentanyl and substance use disorders.
Emily’s Hope is pioneering a substance use prevention education curriculum designed for K-12 students. This age-appropriate and evidence-based content aims to educate children about the hazards of substance use while empowering them to make healthy choices. The White House underscores the importance of schools taking such curricula seriously, stating, “Our schools are on the frontlines of this epidemic, but our teachers and students can be equipped with tools to save lives.”
Read more headline news stories about topics surrounding substance use disorder and the nation’s deadly drug epidemic.