Overdose Lifeline, a nonprofit dedicated to helping individuals, families, and communities affected by substance use disorder, is releasing first-year results from its School Naloxon and Emergency Preparedness Project, in partnership with CareSource. The goal of the program is to reduce the stigma around substance use disorder (SUD) and improve the preparedness of Indiana schools to respond to an overdose situation.

A year after the implementation of the program, 88 school districts across the state of Indiana now have at least one person trained to respond to an overdose, with 505 total participants now trained. In Marshall County, 4 school staff are now trained to recognize symptoms and administer naloxone safely to anyone experiencing an overdose. Those school staff members were from Bremen Public Schools, Culver Community Schools, and St. Michael Catholic School. 

“Around 90 percent of addictions in the US originate during the teenage years. With this reality, it’s essential that Indiana schools are prepared to know the signs of an overdose and respond accordingly,” said Justin Phillips, Executive Director at Overdose Lifeline. “With our training programs, we’ve already seen progress in reducing stigma and educating school staff on appropriate responses to an overdose.”

In a survey given to participants before and after completing their training, they are asked questions about their education and skill perception regarding opioid overdose and naloxone distribution. After taking the training, 99 percent of participants were correctly able to describe how naloxone stops an overdose. The survey also shows improved responses around the misconception that the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone encourages an individual to continue using opioids.

“Education is the best thing we can do to remove the stigma around substance use disorder (SUD),” said Steve Smitherman, president of CareSource Indiana. “Seeing schools across the state embrace training for their staff and continue to support children affected by SUD after this first year is a rewarding part of our partnership. We’re looking forward to seeing the impact to come over the next two years.”

For more information on training and overdose resources, visit www.overdoselifeline.org/.