Hillsdale's board of education
Hillsdale Local Schools' board of education meets on Aug. 8, 2023.

JEROMESVILLE — Hillsdale Local Schools’ board of education had its first reading of a potential new policy for emergency use of Naloxone on Tuesday night. 

Naloxone, an FDA-approved medication, reverses the effects of opioid overdose. Cathy Trevathan, Hillsdale’s superintendent, told Ashland Source that the district’s school resource officers already carry the lifesaving medication.

The policy the board is considering would allow staff to be trained and carry Naloxone too. Trevathan told the board the Ohio School Board Association doesn’t have a policy on Naloxone.

Why is this happening?

Trevathan told the board she thinks it’s good for everyone to be trained.

“More of those vapes and things like that have some stuff on it,” Trevathan said. “It could be one of us that ends up confiscating that and touching it and needing it, or if somebody comes to a football game or a basketball game or something like that.”

According to PharmChek, a company producing sweat patches used to detect drug use over the long-term, some illegal drug manufacturers have started putting fentanyl in vape cartridges. There are documented cases of this happening in some places.

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin, according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration

This makes it easy to overdose on the drug. It can be sniffed, smoked, taken orally, or can be taken accidentally when laced with other drugs. 

A fact sheet from the DEA states that skin contact isn’t expected to lead to overdose if washed off. First responders should avoid actions that might make powder airborne, though.

How to recognize an opioid overdose

Opioid overdose can happen with prescription opioids, when people misunderstand directions for use or take extra by accident. It can also happen with illicit drug use, mixing opioids with other drugs or alcohol or taking another person’s prescription. 

Signs of overdose are pin-point sized pupils, bluish lips and nose, abnormal or slow breathing and when a person does not wake or respond to touch and voice, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The board will have its second reading of the policy at its next board meeting on Oct. 10.

“It’s not so much for our students necessarily as it is for spectators,” Trevathan said. “We hope we never use it.”

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Ashland Source's Report for America corps member. She covers education and workforce development, among other things, for Ashland Source. Thomas comes to Ashland Source from Montana, where she graduated...