WELLSBURG, W.Va. — Brooke County school nurses could be the first in the state to administer the drug naloxone to help reverse the effects of heroin and other opiod overdoses.

An agreement was made this week by the Brooke County Board of Education to seek a waiver from the state Board of Education that would allow school nurses at middle and high schools to stock and provide the drug, better known for its brand name, Narcan.

The proposal was requested by Carol Cipoletti, a 22-year school nurse at Brooke High School.

“We’ve almost lost a couple kids over the years,” said Cipoletti, citing the high number of overdose deaths in West Virginia, specifically in the Northern Panhandle.

According to the state Department of Health and Human Resources’ Drug Overdose Database, Brooke County ranks the third highest in West Virginia for number of heroin overdose deaths.

The statistics led Cipoletti to make the proposal, which would allow them to help save a student, who show signs of having an overdose, before ambulance crews arrive at the school.

“It takes, sometimes, anywhere from five to ten minutes for them to get here. We’re resuscitating and we’d like to be able to administer something that would reverse it as well,” she said.

Cipoletti said they would like to administer the drug through an intranasal injection or an intramuscular injection.

“Intramuscular injection takes about five minutes to take effect, which would be the best option for the nurses in our school county,” she said.

The Brooke County school board is now seeking a waiver approval by the state school board to add the proposal to the state medication policy. If the state BOE approves it, the state Council of School Nurses will convene and draft a procedure for it.

“The bottom line is, the faster we can give the kid this stuff if they’re in respiratory failure, the better off they are,” said Cipoletti. “It’s all about saving lives.”