Lawmakers announce opioid overdose devices for high schools statewide

[Photo Credit: AP Photo | Bob Brown]

An auto-injection device that helps reverse an overdose from opioids, like heroin and prescription painkillers, is being offered for free to high schools across the state of Alabama.

A group of Alabama state senators made the announcement during a press conference Thursday that the manufacturing company Kaleo Inc. is providing the devices that can help prevent someone from dying from an opioid overdose to public and private schools statewide.

Each device normally costs $3,000. Schools interested in getting one will be trained by the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) on how to use the device.

In May, Kaleo Inc. donated of 872 boxes, which each hold two devices, to carry in state volunteer rescue vehicles. The device called Evzio auto-injects the life-saving drug naloxone and contains a voice recording that talks an untrained non-medical professional through administering it. On Thursday, Dial said the devices have already saved 15 lives in the state of Alabama.

Alabama’s struggle with opioids

Alabama is at Ground Zero in the opioid overdose crisis — last year the state had the highest national number of opioid prescriptions, more than the state’s total population, according to a report by insurance provider Blue Cross Blue Shield.

“Opioid abuse continues to be one of the most critical issues our society faces — over 49,000 Americans died last year from opioid overdoses,” Dial said. “This affects every family in Alabama, and we need law enforcement agencies, schools, churches, and private companies to come together to rid this scourge from our state.”