Three high school juniors are earning the respect of the medical community and are making waves in Tallahassee with their push to make naloxone available in schools.
After Asher Lieberman, Jolie Dreiling and Genna Grodin presented their research on opioid overdoses to Miami-Dade school officials last month, state Sen. Jason Pizzo got involved and filed a bill to allow schools to stock the life-saving overdose antidote.
"(The) opioid crisis is taking lives and destroying lives," Pizzo said Monday via video chat. "So these three teenagers, based on their efforts, lives are going to be saved, it's a pretty wonderful thing to be a part of."
The students found out that over the past two years, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue has administered Narcan, a nasal spray antidote, to overdosing kids four times on school campuses and 24 teenagers in total.
Pizzo thinks having Narcan available on campus, much like EpiPens are now, can save lives.
"For sure, I think it's gonna save a life, maybe this year, maybe next year, even if it's one life it's all worth it," Lieberman said.
Dr. Hansel Tookes, who runs the Needle Exchange program in Miami, sees opioid devastation every day. He tips his hat to the initiative these kids started.
"Just like all schools have bandages and aspirin, every school should have naloxone in this age where so many people are using opioids," Tookes said.
"So of course opioids are gonna make their way onto school campuses, and we really need to have things in place to prevent that," Dreiling said.