Five New Bedford schools will soon begin carrying the anti-overdose drug Narcan in their nurses' offices.
The school committee on Wednesday approved New Bedford's participation in a state program that will provide two doses of Narcan for the city's high school, alternative school and three middle schools.
School committee member Lawrence Finnerty says that Narcan will be available to anyone who may experience an overdose while visiting the schools.
"Whether they are a delivery person to the school, a parent, a grandparent, a staff person, anyone," Finnerty said. "We want to make sure we are doing the right thing for them until the EMTs can arrive."
Based on how the program goes, Finnerty says the school committee will consider expanding it to the city's elementary schools.
Police at University of Massachusetts Amherst also announced Thursday that they will be equipped with Narcan by the end of November.
UMass Interim Police Chief Patrick Archbald says his officers have not seen a spike in use of opioids on campus. However, he believes the use of opioids exists, which he says makes carrying Narcan necessary.
"Even just knowing how quickly Narcan can reverse the opioid overdose, where seconds matter, it just made sense to have the officers have it," Archbald said. "And if we can save a life, it was well worth it."
Narcan will also be carried by the Amherst Fire Department, which responds to medical emergencies on campus.