Today, State Representative Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville) moved his first bill in committee earning unanimous support with an 8-0 favorable vote. DuPage County Coroner Dr. Rich Jorgensen joined Rep. Wehrli in committee as a witness to offer supportive testimony on HB 438 a bill that would allow schools to administer an opioid antidote in the event that a student overdoses due to the usage of an opioid.
“I am very encouraged to see committee movement on this legislation. Heroin usage has become an epidemic not just in the home but also in the schools. Overdosing from opioids, most commonly used heroin, has become a very real reality in DuPage,” said Wehrli. “One opioid antidote is already administered by emergency first responders for overdose victims. Providing schools with this antidote and the proper training can mean saving a student’s life while waiting for emergency responders to arrive.”
House Bill 438 would allow school nurses and trained personnel to administer opioid antidotes to students, staff members, or visitors at a school or a school activity if the nurse or trained personnel believes in good faith the person is experiencing a drug overdose. It has the potential to save the lives of those suffering from a drug overdose.
Upon the administration of the antidote, the school district or school must immediately activate the EMS system and notify the student’s parent, guardian, or emergency contact, if known.
“Often adolescent drug usage starts with pills and they typically wait to leave the home before they take it. For this reason, I believe schools should have available to them a way of prevention using proper preparedness to administer this antidote in the case that the young person overdoses,” said DuPage County Coroner Dr. Rich Jorgensen.
Jorgensen added to his testimony that DuPage has already saved 44 lives because of legislation passed by legislators in 2010 that allowed for training and preparedness of emergency first responders to administer this antidote.
Under current law the Drug Overdose Prevention Program, only allows for an opioid antidote to be administered by a health care professional or a trained emergency first responder.