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Buncombe County Schools Will Have Narcan Kits For First Time To Combat Overdoses

Matt Bush BPR

Student resource officers at several Buncombe County middle and high schools will have overdose-reversal kits for the first time ever.  The kits contain Narcan, the brand name for a nasal spray administered to those who have overdosed on opioids.  The kits are being made available through collaboration between the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC), Vaya Health, and the Buncombe County Sheriff's office.  

The middle and high schools where the officers will have the kits are in the Enka, Erwin, North Buncombe, Owen, Reynolds, and Roberson school districts.  A state grant to Vaya Health made the kits possible.  “No one wants to see a young person develop a substance use problem or overdose on heroin or prescription painkillers,” said Vaya CEO Brian Ingraham. “But more importantly, no one wants to see an overdose result in a death that could have been prevented. Keeping Narcan on hand is similar to having epinephrine available for someone experiencing a severe allergic reaction. It just makes good sense.”  During the first five months of this year, Buncombe County authorities responded to more than 12-hundred suspected opioid overdoses.

Last week, Governor Roy Cooper visited Vaya Health to declare September Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery month in North Carolina.  He noted between 3-4 people die everyday from opioid overdoses in the state, with some of the highest rates occurring in Western North Carolina.  

Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016. Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C. For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor. Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis. Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.
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