Student resource officers at several Buncombe County middle and high schools will have overdose-reversal kits for the first time ever. The kits contain Narcan, the brand name for a nasal spray administered to those who have overdosed on opioids. The kits are being made available through collaboration between the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC), Vaya Health, and the Buncombe County Sheriff's office.
The middle and high schools where the officers will have the kits are in the Enka, Erwin, North Buncombe, Owen, Reynolds, and Roberson school districts. A state grant to Vaya Health made the kits possible. “No one wants to see a young person develop a substance use problem or overdose on heroin or prescription painkillers,” said Vaya CEO Brian Ingraham. “But more importantly, no one wants to see an overdose result in a death that could have been prevented. Keeping Narcan on hand is similar to having epinephrine available for someone experiencing a severe allergic reaction. It just makes good sense.” During the first five months of this year, Buncombe County authorities responded to more than 12-hundred suspected opioid overdoses.
Last week, Governor Roy Cooper visited Vaya Health to declare September Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery month in North Carolina. He noted between 3-4 people die everyday from opioid overdoses in the state, with some of the highest rates occurring in Western North Carolina.