Education

Idaho colleges have, or are trying to get, the opioid-overdose drug Trump highlighted

Chris Humor, a paramedic with Carle Arrow Ambulance in Champaign, Illinois, holds a syringe with a mist atomizer used to dispense Narcan, the emergency, life-saving antidote for opioid overdose victims. Boise State and Idaho State universities both keep Narcan on hand in case of overdoses on campus.
Chris Humor, a paramedic with Carle Arrow Ambulance in Champaign, Illinois, holds a syringe with a mist atomizer used to dispense Narcan, the emergency, life-saving antidote for opioid overdose victims. Boise State and Idaho State universities both keep Narcan on hand in case of overdoses on campus. The News-Gazette via AP

Some Idaho colleges already have, or are trying to get, a nasal spray that President Donald Trump highlighted in a speech Monday on the federal strategy to combat the opioid epidemic.

Drug manufacturer Adapt Pharma provides its nasal spray Narcan at no charge to colleges and high schools. It contains naloxone, the opioid overdose-reversal drug.

Adapt announced Monday that it plans to expand the program, which it first rolled out a couple of years ago in partnership with the Clinton Foundation. It now plans to make Narcan available to all U.S. colleges and high schools.

Boise State University has kept Narcan kits on campus since late 2016, according to spokesman Greg Hahn. Each of the school's 10 to 12 security officers carries a kit, he said.

Lewis Eakins, chief security officer and director of public safety at Idaho State University, said his staff had been trained to use Narcan kits by the ISU College of Pharmacy, which supplied employees with the kits.

At the University of Idaho in Moscow, campus security personnel do not carry Narcan. School spokeswoman Jodi Walker said it’s against the the policy of U of I’s security contractor to administer any drug. Walker said first responders who serve the campus do carry Narcan.

Asked if the school could benefit from the offer for free Narcan kits, Walker said that “would have to be a broad discussion.”

The College of Idaho last fall applied for free Narcan kits and training materials through the initiative Trump highlighted in his speech. The college plans to train employees, including campus safety, student center and residential life staff members, in how to use Narcan for overdoses.

But when the Statesman inquired this week, College of Idaho officials realized they hadn’t yet received the kits and are now trying to figure out what happened to their request.

The college hasn’t had any problems with opioid overdoses, said spokesman Joe Hughes. But it wants to be prepared.

“We thought it was good to have something like this on supply with overdoses that might occur,” Hughes said.

Audrey Dutton: 208-377-6448, @audreydutton

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