Bipartisan Newhouse bill gives more tools to save lives in schools

To help fight the opioid overdose problem among teenagers and young adults, U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) on March 21 sponsored bipartisan legislation that would amend a federal grant program to allow school districts to train school resource officers, security personnel and school nurses on administering Narcan and to purchase individual Narcan kits.

“Fatal drug overdoses and drug use, often fueled by the fentanyl crisis, are on the rise in our central Washington communities and across the country,” Rep. Newhouse said. “School resource officers are often the first to respond to an incident, including an overdose, at school.”

Rep. Newhouse introduced the School Resource Officers Save Lives Act, H.R. 7189, with eight original cosponsors, including U.S. Reps. John Moolenaar (R-MI), Rodney Davis (R-IL), and Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ) to amend the 21st Century Cures Act regarding the State Opioid Response Grants program.

“Following feedback from my community — including parents, law enforcement officers and school administrators — I introduced legislation to provide school resource officers with the tools and training they need to assist them in saving the lives of students in the case of an overdose,” said Rep. Newhouse.

H.R. 7189 would reauthorize the State Opioid Response (SOR) Grants Program at $5 million for fiscal years 2022 and 2023; create the pilot program for Narcan administration within the SOR program; require at least 50 percent of grants to be awarded to school districts located in rural areas; and require that grant recipients who have school resource officers or security personnel receive training in Narcan administration that is paid for by the grant, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Newhouse’s office.

Additionally, the congressman said that H.R. 7189 supports the positive relationship that already exists between central Washington school resource officers and students. 

“We are a shining example of how communities can come together to provide children with a positive interaction and impression of the law enforcement community, while delivering much-needed support to our school resource officers so they can continue to save young lives,” Rep. Newhouse said.

The National Association of School Resource Officers, the Fraternal Order of Police, and the National Sheriffs’ Association endorsed the bill.