ROME, GA – Sobering statistics from the state about opioid-related deaths have prompted Atrium Health Floyd to provide some area school systems with doses of a drug that can quickly reverse the effects of an overdose.
Through the Focus on the Future initiative, Floyd Healthcare Foundation provided $1,619 for doses of Narcan for middle and high school students at Darlington School, Floyd County Schools, Polk School District and Rome City Schools. Narcan is the standard treatment for opioid overdoses and is administered as a nasal spray.
“Focus on the Future was launched in 1995 and is an effort to address health issues that impact children and youth in the communities we serve,” said Lauren Adams, Floyd Healthcare Foundation director. “The knowledge that this might help save lives underscores the importance of this initiative.”
From 2017 to 2021, the Northwest Georgia Health District had the highest opioid-related death rate of any health district in the state, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. The 10 counties in the health district include Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Haralson, Paulding, Polk and Walker.
Statewide, the total number of opioid-related overdose deaths increased by 101% to 1,718 in 2021 from 853 in 2019, according to public health data. Nationwide more than 101,750 fatal overdoses were reported in the 12-month period ending in October 2022, primarily caused by opioids like fentanyl.
Narcan has minimal side effects and can be safely administered by health care providers and school officials with some training. It can be sprayed in either nostril like a nasal decongestant.
“Our school nurses have been trained to safely administer Narcan, but we certainly hope we never have to use it,” said Paula White, RN, school nurse manager for Atrium Health Floyd.
About Atrium Health Floyd
The Atrium Health Floyd family of health care services is a leading medical provider and economic force in northwest Georgia and northeast Alabama. Atrium Health Floyd is part of Charlotte, North Carolina-based Advocate Health, the third-largest nonprofit health system in the United States, created from the combination of Atrium Health and Advocate Aurora Health. Atrium Health Floyd employs more than 3,500 teammates who provide care in over 40 medical specialties at three hospitals: Atrium Health Floyd Medical Center – a 304-bed full-service, acute care hospital and regional referral center in Rome, Georgia; Atrium Health Floyd Polk Medical Center in Cedartown, Georgia; and Atrium Health Floyd Cherokee Medical Center in Centre, Alabama; as well as Atrium Health Floyd Medical Center Behavioral Health – a freestanding 53-bed behavioral health facility in Rome – and also primary care and urgent care network locations throughout northwest Georgia and northeast Alabama.
About Advocate Health
Advocate Health is the third-largest nonprofit integrated health system in the United States – created from the combination of Advocate Aurora Health and Atrium Health. Providing care under the names Advocate Health Care in Illinois, Atrium Health in the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama, and Aurora Health Care in Wisconsin, Advocate Health is a national leader in clinical innovation, health outcomes, consumer experience and value-based care, with Wake Forest University School of Medicine serving as the academic core of the enterprise. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Advocate Health serves nearly 6 million patients and is engaged in hundreds of clinical trials and research studies. It is nationally recognized for its expertise in cardiology, neurosciences, oncology, pediatrics and rehabilitation, as well as organ transplants, burn treatments and specialized musculoskeletal programs. Advocate Health employs nearly 150,000 team members across 67 hospitals and over 1,000 care locations and offers one of the nation’s largest graduate medical education programs with over 2,000 residents and fellows across more than 200 programs. Committed to equitable care for all, Advocate Health provides nearly $5 billion in annual community benefits.