To solve a problem, you have to acknowledge that it exists. It may sound obvious, but that’s a statement embraced by a number of schools and school districts, an action that may eventually save lives.

Schools, school districts, and states across the United States are placing naloxone in public schools. Often distributed under brand names such as Evzio and Narcan, naloxone is a drug that may reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Using naloxone can help revive people who have overdosed on hydrocodone (Norco/Vicodin), (OxyContin), heroin, fentanyl, codeine, morphine, or other opioid drugs.

For instance, school districts in the Michigan cities of Novi, Belleville, and Brighton are keeping naloxone in their schools. The district’s decisions has apparently already paid dividends. People administered the drug to someone in a Novi school and the person received EMS help, went to a hospital, and recovered.

Naloxone has reversed drug overdoses for many people and continues to do so on a daily basis. Yet it seems that some schools and institutions refuse to carry the drug. Not because they question its effectiveness, but because of shame and appearances.

The schools refuse to carry naloxone because it would be admitting that the people in the schools and their communities may have problems with drug addiction. They fear that admitting possible addiction problems would make the schools and its communities look bad. They may fear that storing naloxone may encourage drug use because people may feel safer about using drugs if they have access to medication that may reverse overdoses.

But, if schools and other entities don’t stock such drugs, people may die of overdoses. That would be (and would appear) much, much worse. School districts should not refuse to carry life-saving products because they are concerned more about appearances than public health.

Opioid overdoses have killed thousands of people in recent years. If we don’t take action, they’ll kill thousands more. Using naloxone can help reverse that trend. Acknowledging and addressing opioid addiction can also produce that effect. Ignoring it or trying to maintaining appearances is foolish and can be fatal.

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