11th Sep 2018

     Governor Phil Murphy recently signed P.L. 2018, c. 106 (“Opioid Law”) into law, which requires all New Jersey boards of education, boards of trustees of a charter school, and chief school administrators of non-public schools to develop a policy for the emergency administration of an opioid antidote to a student, staff member, or other person who is experiencing an opioid overdose.  The policy is required to contain the following:

  • Require each school that includes any of the grades nine (9) through twelve (12), and permit any other school, to obtain a standing order for opioid antidotes pursuant to P.L. 2013, c. 46, and to maintain a supply of opioid antidotes in a secure and easily accessible location.
  • Permit emergency administration of an opioid antidote by school nurse or trained employee to any person whom the nurse or trained employee in good faith believes is experiencing an opioid overdose.
  • Require an overdose victim to be transported to a hospital emergency room by emergency services personnel after the administration of an opioid antidote, even if the person’s symptoms appear to have resolved.

     The opioid antidotes must be accessible during regular school hours and during school-sponsored functions that take place in the school or on school grounds adjacent to the school building. A board of education, in its discretion, may make opioid antidotes accessible during school-sponsored functions that take place off school grounds.  The school nurse has the primary responsibility for the emergency administration of an opioid antidote. However, a board of education must also designate additional employees who volunteer to administer an opioid antidote in the event that a person experiences an opioid overdose when the nurse is not physically present at the scene.

     The Opioid Law directs the Department of Education, in consultation with the Department of Human Services and appropriate medical experts, to establish guidelines for school districts in developing their policies for the administration of opioid antidotes. The guidelines will require that each school nurse, and each employee designated by the board of education pursuant to the Opioid Law’s provisions, must receive training on standardized protocols for the administration of an opioid antidote to a student or staff member who experiences an opioid overdose.

     The Opioid Law provides immunity from liability for school nurses and other employees or agents of a board of education for good faith acts or omissions consistent with its provisions. It also stipulates that school districts may enter into shared services arrangements for the provision of opioid antidotes. In addition, its provisions amend the “Overdose Prevention Act,” P.L. 2013, c .46 to: (1) include schools, school districts, and school nurses among the recipients that may be prescribed opioid antidotes through a standing order; and (2) provide that immunity from liability for opioid antidote administration in accordance with the Overdose Prevention Act will be applicable to schools, school districts, school nurses, and other employees or agents of a board of education who administer, or permit the administration of, opioid antidotes in good faith under the provisions of the bill.

     The Opioid Law takes effect on December 1, 2018.  In order to ensure compliance with the Opioid Law, all school districts are advised to review and update their Board policies and regulations in order to implement the Opioid Law’s provisions. Should you require any assistance in updating your policies and regulations, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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