WALLINGFORD -- Thanks to a grant from the Clinton Foundation, the Wallingford school system has moved forward with a plan to equip each of its high schools with the opioid antidote nalaxone, a generic version often associated with the brand name nasal injector Narcan.
Wallingford Superintendent of Schools Dr. Salvatore Menzo, emphasizes the school system is simply being proactive and that there has never been a heroin overdose at either of the town's two high schools, Lyman Hall and Sheehan.
"We felt we needed to be a team player and put it in the hands of our school nurses in the event that something should happen," said Menzo.
The nurse's office at each high school will be equipped with two doses of the nalaxone beginning this Thursday, December 1.
"Anything that helps us get to the person more quickly is going to be beneficial to everybody," said Lt. Cheryl Bradley, spokesperson for the Wallingford Police Department.
The lunch crowd at Wallingford's popular Dad's Restaurant said it's a sad state of affairs when the two high schools have to be equipped with a drug like this.
"But, yes, it is an epidemic and if there is something that we can do to save a life then I say go ahead and do it," said Linda Carabetta, of Wallingford, who adds that she's seen too many lives lost to drugs as a long-time emergency room nurse. She wishes kids would truly grasp what an overdose really is.
"No breathing, no circulation, no life. They have absolutely no understanding that you stop breathing," she said.
The nursing coordinator for Wallingford schools, Kathy Neelon, said there's not much training involved for school nurses since they would be administering a nasal spray.
"We didn't want to be without a life-saving medication in the event we ever needed it," she said.
"We haven't seen it specifically at a high school," Bradley said. "But, certainly that age group is included with those who are using and some that are overdosing."
Neelon says she is only aware of one other school system in Connecticut equipped with nalaxone, that being Guilford.