Rep. Dave Prestin today introduced a bipartisan plan to require Michigan schools to carry Narcan, a common medication used to counteract an opioid-induced overdose.
“Narcan is a fast-acting medicine used to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose,” said Prestin, of Cedar River. “With the ever-increasing death rate in Michigan caused by opioid overdose and fentanyl-laced drugs, it’s vital to expand access to this remarkable drug throughout the entire state. I’ve seen it firsthand – Narcan is a lifesaver.”
From 1999-2021, deaths in Michigan from opioid overdose increased from 118 to nearly 3,000. Narcan (Naloxone) quickly restores normal breathing to a person if their breathing has slowed or stopped due to an opioid overdose. The remarkable effect is tried and true, having been used by medical professionals for over 50 years. It has no effect on a person who does not have opioids in their system.
“Narcan has the unique ability to save lives in an instant,” Prestin said. “Opioid addiction and overdoses are an all-too-common occurrence among young Michiganders, especially because most people don’t know what they’re taking. These days, it’s nearly impossible not to find fentanyl – a lethal substance – laced with other drugs. As state legislators, we must provide schools the necessary resources to combat this crisis.”
According to a recent study by the National Library of Medicine, the number of overdose deaths in rural Michigan increased considerably from 2019 to 2020, with an increase of 72.4%. Fentanyl was the most common substance detected and had a 94% increase from 2018 to 2020, and was found in 70% of all overdose deaths during the study.
“Some young kids will see a colored tablet, and naturally put it in their mouth, thinking it’s candy,” Prestin said. “If that tablet contains even trace amounts of fentanyl, those kids are now facing death. With the free flow of narcotics at our borders, and the ever-increasing amount of fentanyl in this country, it’s important to provide schools the necessary resources to combat this crisis – for both students and staff.
“We should look at this as the same perspective as placing Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) throughout schools in case of life-threatening cardiac problems. If a student or staff gets exposed to these dangerous substances, whether on purpose, or via accidental poisoning, that person will likely die without the widespread availability of Narcan.”
The bipartisan plan would:
- Require elementary schools, grades K-5, to carry Narcan (House Bill 4734, Rep. Prestin);
- Require secondary schools, grades 6-12, to carry Narcan (House Bill 4735, Rep. Fitzgerald);
- Require County Health Departments to provide training to schools for the dispensing of Narcan (House Bill 4736, Rep. Koleszar);
- Require County Health Departments to provide Narcan to schools (House Bill 4737, Rep. Bezotte).
House Bills 4734-37 have been sent to the House Committee on Education for further consideration.
“The governor signed away the future of the Upper Peninsula to please climate activists, not considering the factories that this will close and the families who will struggle to afford their heat in the middle of winter. Public utilities will be forced to spend millions on preposterous renewable energy credits to become compliant with these radical new laws. These additional expenses will be passed down to consumers who can’t afford their energy bills as it is.”
“These bills are precisely the opposite of what the U.P. and Michigan needs,” said Prestin, R-Cedar River. “The most urgent need is to reduce costs and increase reliability. Even if the tiny contribution Michigan makes to global emissions mattered, which it doesn’t, this plan will make living and working here harder for our residents.”
“Democrats just spent two weeks passing legislation that will wreak havoc across Michigan. Now, they’re tucking their tails, ignoring their duty to the voters, and running out of town. We are a full-time legislature. It’s been forty years since we’ve adjourned as early as Democrats did this week.”
“Our medical first responders and emergency medical technicians have reached a critical shortage in people interested in doing the work,” Prestin said. “This legislation would allow EMS agencies to advance the next generation of this crucial profession. We already allow high school students to train for these jobs. This package just ensures that those recruits can get into the workforce when they complete their coursework instead of waiting until their eighteenth birthday.”