Cass County Middle, High Schools Starting to Carry Narcan

the drug reverses the effects of opioid overdoses

FARGO, ND — Cass County middle schools and high schools are making an effort to prevent opioid overdose emergencies.

They’ve partnered with Fargo Cass Public Health so they can start carrying Narcan kits at their schools.

As a former EMT, Central Cass School Superintendent Morgan Forness knows time is of the essence when trying to save a life.

It’s also why all middle schools and high schools across Cass County will start carrying Narcan, the drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

“We’re with the students basically eight hours a day if not more, and we have quick access to them so it makes a lot of sense,” Forness said.

Fargo Cass Public Health started training school workers to use the kits last week.

They will be available to each school after training is completed.

Each Narcan kit costs $75 and contains two nasal sprays.

Fargo Cass Public Health officials say they didn’t want to use syringes because they can intimidate people.

“We want as many people to be as comfortable as possible administering it and saving as many lives as possible,” said Melissa Markegard, community health educator at Fargo Cass Public Health.

While there have been no opioid related deaths in Cass County schools, some say the schools are moving in the right direction.

“If you are trained in it and you’re comfortable and you know that you can do it, you are much more likely to grab that Narcan and perform those life-saving measures on that person,” Markegard said.

In 2016, 31 people in Fargo lost their lives to an opioid overdose.

So far in 2017, 12 people have died.

It’s Fargo Cass Public Health’s goal to keep that number from growing.

“It’s not the overall answer but it’s something that’s extremely important,” said Dr. John Baird, health officer at Fargo Cass Public Health. “If we can save one life, or more because of Narcan use, that would be wonderful.”

Fargo Cass Public Health says they’ll be done training select school personnel in January.

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