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April 12, 2016

Pennsylvania making heroin antidote available to high schools

Gov. Wolf says program will help keep 'changing the course of addiction'

As Pennsylvania continues to battle the growing epidemic of drug addiction, state officials have begun rolling out a program that seeks to make a life-saving overdose antidote available in high schools.

The Department of Health announced Tuesday that it's started accepting applications for schools across the state to receive a free two-dose carton of naxolone, a drug commonly sold under the brand name Narcan that reverses the effects of opioids such as heroin.

Gov. Tom Wolf said in a press release the rollout would help schools work more closely with students and families to keep "changing the course of addiction."

Health officials say this is the first program of its kind in any state across the country and other states are looking to mirror Pennsylvania's model.

Pennsylvania's 642 public schools will have to get approval from the school's physician, adopt a Narcan administration policy and have their school nurse receive state training on delivering the drug in order to qualify for the program.