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Overdose Reversal Drug Now Available Free for High Schools Across the Country

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SACRAMENTO --

In 2013, more than 16,000 people died from prescription opioid overdoses in the U.S., according to the California Department of Public Health.

This major drug problem is prompting a company to offer high schools across the country access to a free opioid reversal drug.

"Teenage culture has a huge drug problem, it's the biggest it's ever been," said certified addictions specialist John Daily.

The California Department of Public Health reports 34, 15- to 19-year-olds died in 2013 from opioid poisoning.

Sobering statistics like these are why Adapt Pharma partnered with the Clinton Foundation to offer all high schools in the U.S. a free carton of NARCAN nasal spray, an opioid reversal drug used during an overdose.

The Sacramento Fire Department has had a version of the drug in engines and ambulances for decades.

"We've had patients who are essentially deceased, and you give NARCAN, and they will come out of their overdose immediately," said Chris Harvey, spokesman for the Sacramento Fire Department.

The department says every second during an opioid overdose is critical.

NARCAN has proven to save lives, but Harvey said there is a side effect of the drug, which is immediate withdrawal symptoms.

"It has to be done very carefully at the same time as other medical interventions," Harvey said.

Part of the program includes opioid overdose education, but not every school will participate. Adapt Pharma said school districts and the state can opt into the program, but it's not mandated.

FOX40 reached out to multiple school districts in the region, and many of them are just learning about the offer.

Districts including Rocklin, Elk Grove and Natomas said they're not in a position to comment on whether they'll participate in the program.