SUSQUEHANNA TWP., Pa. -- When Susquehanna Township School District Superintendent Dr. Tod Kline heard that the overdose reversal drug Naloxone would soon be available for free at any high school in the state, the memories returned.
In 2004, when Kline was assistant principal at Waynesboro High School in Franklin County in Western Pennsylvania, a student of his overdosed. Kline didn't know what drug the student had taken, or where in the high school he took it. All Kline remembers was standing with other school administrators, waiting for an ambulance, as the student he once taught in elementary school was unconscious, his lifeless body sliding off a wheelchair.
"I think if (Narcan) was available, we would've had less of an issue with time. It very well could've gone the other way and we could've lost that student," Kline remembers. "I still get emotional thinking about it at times."
Kline hopes to never experience a drug overdose inside a high school ever again. He wants Susquehanna Township to think seriously about taking the Pennsylvania Department of Health up on a recent offer, which would make Naloxone available to any of the state's 642 public high schools.
The drug, now available in a recently FDA-approved nasal spray form, is donated by Philadelphia-based pharmaceutical company Adapt Pharma. Schools would have to apply to the Department of Health and school nurses would need to undergo video training, showing how the drug is administered.
Once approved, schools will receive a single kit of Narcan in the form of two nasal sprays. Dr. Rachel Levine, the state's Physician General, says the drugs cost $75 per box.
"This highlights the significant issue and role schools play in terms of prevention and teenagers getting involved with substance abuse," Dr. Levine said.
She says Narcan will be made available to public high schools within the month.
Meanwhile, at Susquehanna Twp., students are reminded of the perils of drug use every day. Inside the high school is a Hall of Murals; walls with sections painted by each class dating back more than 50 years; a glimpse into different eras. One section focuses solely on drugs, painted by the Class of 1970, the Vietnam War era. Paintings show rampant drug use -- marijuana and heroin, specifically -- and ultimately, death.
"(Our students) are exposed to the concerns and dangers and history of it," Dr. Kline says. "It's important to make sure everybody is presented with the issues and possibilities.
"It only takes one kid to have a problem."