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Boulder Valley School District is one of two districts in Colorado carrying life-saving doses of Narcan

Posted at 5:56 AM, Dec 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-21 07:56:25-05

LOUISVILLE, Colo. — Monarch High School in Louisville is like most high schools: You'll see students working on their laptops in the hallway, talking amongst each other and making their way to their next class, but what sets it apart is the access teachers and nurses now have to Narcan.

"The key is having it on hand," said Jennifer Kerker, the school nurse.

Just this month, the Boulder Valley School District became one of two districts in Colorado whose nurses and teachers have and can administer Narcan.

"Just in the last couple of weeks, we've started to distribute them to the nurses at the schools and the nurses are taking them out to their individual schools. So they're on site," Kerker said.

Along with being the high school's nurse, Kerker was also in charge of training nurses across the district to use the Narcan.

Jordan Goto, the health and wellness coordinator with Boulder Valley School District, had a different role in getting Narcan into district schools. She was the one who went to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to get the life-saving drug.

"It was like Christmas morning. You just are so excited to have this as another tool to save lives," she said.

Getting the Narcan kits was possible through the state health department's Naloxone Bulk Purchase Fund, a fund that allows eligible entities, like school districts, to get Narcan for free.

"I think it's a really important piece of the puzzle because what we're seeing right now is increases in fentanyl," said Andres Guerrero, who works with the Overdose Prevention Unit at the CDPHE. "It could be very, very dangerous. So we want to make sure that we have as much Naloxone out there as possible in the schools."

Boulder Valley School District asked CDPHE for 72 Narcan kits, enough to stock all elementary, middle and high schools with at least two doses.

"Hopefully, we never have to use it, but it's always great to have that as a tool. So it was really exciting to receive," Goto said.

The Narcan isn't just inside Boulder Valley schools in case a student or visitor has an overdose — it's also there in case nearby community members need help.

"These emergencies can happen anywhere in our community, and so the key is having Narcan on hand available and ready to use wherever an emergency might happen, " Kerker said.

She said she hopes this will help potentially save lives and increase education around the dangers of fentanyl and overdoses in Boulder county.

"It raises awareness about what's happening in our community, and it raises awareness with our parents and families," she said.