Washington House passes bill to ensure opioid overdose reversal medicine is available at public schools and college dorms

The Washington House of Representatives adopted a bill today which would ensure that the opioid overdose reversal medication, naloxone (also known as Narcan), will be available at public high schools and college dorms across Washington.

The overdose reversal medication is easily administered – usually by a nasal spray – and extremely effective in reversing overdoses. There are virtually no risks from administering the drug mistakenly. A delay of even a few minutes, while waiting for first responders, can be fatal.

HB 2390, introduced by 46th District Representative Gerry Pollet (D-Seattle, Lake Forest Park and Kenmore), will ensure that there is one school staff member on site trained to recognize overdoses and administer the overdose reversal medication. At public college dorms, the college will have a plan for where the naloxone is stored and who is trained to administer it, such as residence hall aides. The bill protects someone who is designated and trained under the school and college policies from any liability for attempting to save a life, similar to legislation adopted for “epi-pens.”

HB 2390 was passed by the House on a 79-19 vote and now goes to the State Senate. Washington will be the first state in the nation to make provision for naloxone to be available at public schools and college dorms.

“We need to do everything possible to save the lives of young people during this opioid epidemic,” said Pollet. “It reaches everywhere in our state and, sadly, every school and college. Naloxone is safe and easily administered. We need to educate people to recognize overdoses and enable school and college dorm staff to administer – especially since so few public schools have nurses on hand.”

Pollet thanked citizen advocate Corina Pfeil of Kenmore for her “heroic citizenship and advocacy” on behalf of the legislation and developing materials and expert testimony as well as testimony from parents and others personally impacted by overdoses.