Pott. County schools install various medical lockboxes the their districts

Elisabeth Slay
From left to right: David Holland the PFS Coordinator for Gateway to Prevention and Recovery, Blake Moody North Rock Creek School Superintendent and Yevette Marshall the North Rock Creek District Nurse posing together after medical lock boxes were installed in different school sites.

In September 2019, the Shawnee Board of Education voted to install 400 Medical Lock Boxes in each school site throughout the district and since then other area schools have done the same.

According to David Holland, SPF PFS Coordinator – Region 14 for Gateway to Prevention and Recovery, Shawnee was the first to install lock boxes, but throughout the school year other districts have followed this initiative.

"We partnered with (The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse) or ODMHSAS to use some of our funds to purchase medication lock boxes," Holland said. "We had several schools in Pottawatomie County that wanted to partner with us to install these lock boxes in all classrooms in their district to safely store staff medications."

Holland explained the purpose of the boxes is to keep medications staff members may need to take safe.

"We adopted policies around safe storage and disposal of staff medications. We also provided these schools with Naloxone kits as well as training for their staff," Holland said.

In addition to Shawnee, there have been other communities whose school districts have enacted these policies and training.

"McLoud Schools and North Rock Creek schools have also partnered with us. Other schools have partnered with us on a smaller scale, but these three schools, Shawnee, NRC and McLoud have really gone above and beyond to protect their staff and students," Holland said.

Holland explained the goal of Gateway to Prevention and Recovery is to keep young people safe from the opioid epidemic.

"Opioid overdose deaths have exceeded 400,000 since 2012, so the opioid epidemic is a very serious thing," Holland said. "So we go into schools and educate students and staff of the safe usage, storage, and disposal of prescription drugs."

Holland explained with the high increase of opioid deaths, it's important for communities to take preventative action.

"Shawnee, McLoud and North Rock Creek are taking great preventive measures for both their staff and students," Holland said. "The schools are sending a message that they take the safety of their staff and students very seriously."