The North East ISD board of trustees voted March 6 to make naloxone, also known as Narcan, a medication that reverses the effects of overdoses from fentanyl or other opioid-related drugs, available at all campuses.

“Fentanyl is highly addictive and extremely dangerous,” according to a district press release published after the meeting. “Just two milligrams—the size of the tip of a pencil—can be deadly. Many overdoses are accidental because, unknown to the user, pills and drugs in our communities are being laced with fentanyl.”

Executive Director of Communications Aubrey Chancellor said the district has not had a problem with overdoses.

“However, we want to be proactive and exercise caution due to the increase in opioid emergencies within our community and country overall,” Chancellor said.

The medication will be dispensed as a nasal spray on about 70 school campuses, Chancellor said. It will be used during medical emergencies, similar to the use of EpiPens to treat serious allergic reactions, district officials said.

The medication will be distributed by the UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing at no cost to NEISD, according to the news release.

It will be kept in clinic offices and where emergency medical supplies, such as the automated external defibrillators, are stored, and with North East Police Department officers, district officials said. At this time, there are no plans to keep the medications at any district office, Chancellor said.

“The safety of our students, teachers, staff and visitors is our highest priority,” the release stated. “The impact of the opioid epidemic across the nation prompted NEISD to pursue Narcan through the Texas Targets Opioid Response (TTOR) project.”

The project is funded through a state grant and aims to decrease the prevalence of opioid-related overdoses.

District officials said they want to encourage parents and guardians to speak to their children about “the deadly and legal impact of possessing, selling or using fentanyl and other illegal drugs.”

Parents or guardians whose children cannot receive the medications—for example due to an allergy—can notify their campus nurse in writing.

NEISD offers a tip line at where anyone can anonymously report a drug issue or threat, or a person can call the NEPD nonemergency line at 210-407-0925. District officials encourage people that if they “see something, say something.”