Renewed push to make Narcan more available in Central Texas schools

There’s a renewed push in Williamson County to make the overdose-reversal drug Narcan more available in schools. It comes after several students have died from fentanyl in neighboring counties.

With kids easily scoring fentanyl-laced pills by text or social media, Williamson County officials are partnering with Bluebonnet Trails Community Services and local school districts to make Narcan easier to access in schools, to reverse fentanyl’s deadly effects.

"They can go from not breathing and completely unresponsive to awake and talking," said Capt. Amy Jarosek of Williamson County EMS’s Community Paramedic Program.

Fentanyl overdoses are on the rise across the board, with Williamson County EMS reporting a 20% increase between 2020 and 2021, and a 22% increase between 2021 and 2022.

"We know that the numbers are higher in other areas that are surrounding us. So we know that that's just going to go up if we don't do something proactively to try to prevent it," said Jarosek.

In the past couple of weeks, Round Rock High School has placed Narcan inside dozens of defibrillator kits, with elementary schools in Leander, Granger, Coupland and Thrall about to do the same.

"If somebody goes down, it's hard to tell an overdose from a cardiac event. So having those two devices side by side really increases the chance of saving a life," said George Scherer, Director of Risk Management and Regulatory Compliance at Round Rock ISD.

Most school nurses and resource officers already have Narcan, but by having it in these kits, the hope is to make it easier to find and use.

"It comes in a box. There are two doses in each box," said Jarosek. "It’s a nasal spray, just like you would use an allergy nasal spray."

The Narcan will also be placed in government buildings throughout Williamson County, in addition to schools, in the coming weeks.

"We hope we never have to use it," said Scherer. "I'm just thankful we have it. Because we will use it."

Williamson County EMS is offering free training to anyone interested in learning how to use Narcan. For more information, call (512) 943-1264.

If you would like to obtain Narcan, you can do so through an "open prescription" at your local pharmacy, or you can get it free of charge at any Bluebonnet Trails location.