WINSLOW — Each of Winslow’s three public schools will soon stock the overdose-reversing drug naloxone, administrators recently said.

By the end of the school year, doses of Narcan, a nasal spray version of naloxone, will be placed alongside first-aid kits and defibrillators at Winslow’s elementary, junior high and high schools.

Nurses at the schools are being trained to administer Narcan with the intent to prevent students, staff and community members alike from overdosing, according to Superintendent Peter Thiboutot.

“Even though (overdoses) are not happening in our schools, it’s a tool that’s there in the event we should have an incident,” he said. “And it’s not only for students; it could be for another adult that’s visiting our school during an event, or some other type of emergency.”

“If something should occur in our schools, we would want to be prepared to hopefully prevent that situation from occurring,” he added.

As Maine continues to see record numbers of overdose deaths, Winslow Elementary nurse Stephanie Choate said schools need to do as much as possible to protect their communities. While Choate said there have not been any situations at Winslow schools that required Narcan to be used, a policy was changed to prepare for emergencies that may occur.


“It’s just kind of another tool to have in our toolbelt,” she said. “We have other resources in school that are part of that toolbelt to help people in a life-threatening emergency, and this is just another one of those assets that we have.”

Sarah Dewitt, a nurse at Winslow High School, said she and other school nurses will be able to train teachers, students and community members alike to administer Narcan. She said Narcan was chosen specifically by the district for how easy it is to train people to administer and use.

“It’s actually so easy that they’re offering it to people in the pharmacy,” she said. “It’s a nose spray. It’s not an injection. It doesn’t require any preparation other than to take the cap off and administer it in the nose like a simple nose spray.”

The Narcan will likely be placed in a central location beside the defibrillators and first-aid kits within each school, according to Dewitt.

The Legislature in 2021 passed a bill allowing schools to stock naloxone for the first time. Thiboutot said about 40 schools across the state have adopted policies allowing them to keep naloxone on hand, including Waterville Public Schools and Fairfield-based Maine School Administrative District 49. Winslow’s School Board unanimously approved a motion to join that list at a meeting Oct. 23.

Administrators said they couldn’t provide data regarding youth overdoses in Winslow, citing privacy concerns.


Reports from the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention show that reported overdoses among people 19 and younger have fallen slightly over the last five years in Kennebec County, despite a spike in 2022.

Winslow school administrators attribute the data in part to their harm prevention efforts, for which Narcan will become critical, Thiboutot said.

“This is being put into place as a preventative measure,” he said. “When people talk about policies such as this, the first thing is that a concern is raised. ‘Oh my gosh, what is happening?’ And that is not the case at all here.”

Editor’s note: Naloxone is available through the state for individuals at If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance abuse disorder, reach the Maine Department of Health and Human Services’ toll-free help line by calling 211.

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