CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — According to state representative James Talarico, teen fentanyl deaths have increased by over 180 percent from 2019-2021, prompting him to propose Senate Bill 629, which would make Texas school districts keep Narcan on campuses that serves grades 6-12.
At least one employee would be trained on how to administer the drug.
“Last year, a 13-year-old boy died from a fentanyl overdose in a Texas middle school. Now his school district requires Narcan—an overdose reversal medication—on each campus,“ Talrico said in a statement to KRIS 6.
Michael Thieme is the executive director of safety and operation for the Gregory-Portland Independent School District. He said that he is in support of the bill.
"Just last month, our board improved formal language to allow us to administer Narcan, so right now we are working through the policies and procedures on making that happen,” Thieme said.
Narcan is a medication that can help reverse an opioid overdose in a matter of minutes.
Thieme said for GPISD, the legislation is strictly preventative, but will help them be prepared in case of future incidents.
"We feel like it's already in the area, we just want to be prepared and we don't want to be caught not having this medicine if we need it,” Thieme said.
Thieme believes this is important for the wellness of students.
“It's very scary,” he said. “That's why we're trying to be proactive and preventable with these policies with keeping this Narcan on hand and trained to administer if needed. I can't tell you how scary it is. It's up there! It's one of those things you worry about night and day.”
The district is in talks with the Portland Fire Department to get their staff up to speed.
"We're going to be starting with a plan to train all administrators, school resource officers, and our district nurses,” he said.
The bill is now heading to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for signature.