New Legislation Impacts School Opioid Antagonist Administration


September 9th, 2019

Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently signed into law Public Acts 38 and 39 of 2019. Public Act 38 repeals all Revised School Code (RSC) provisions addressing school administration of opioid antagonists. Public Act 39 creates a new Administration of Opioid Antagonist Act (AOAA) applicable to “school districts.” The AOAA takes effect September 24, 2019.

Opioid antagonists are drugs that reverse opioid overdose. Examples of opioids include heroin and prescription painkillers. Although the AOAA will continue to allow “school districts” to administer opioid antagonists, there are some significant differences between the soon-to-be-repealed RSC provisions and the AOAA:.

RSC (Repealed as of Sept. 24, 2019) AOAA (Effective Sept. 24, 2019)

School district, ISD, or PSA may obtain, and have trained employees administer, an opioid antagonist.

“Political subdivision” may obtain, and have trained employees or agents administer, opioid antagonists.

The AOAA interjects ambiguity by defining a “political subdivision” to expressly include a “school district,” without expressly including an “intermediate school district” or “public school academy.”

Trained employee, or a licensed registered professional nurse employed or contracted by the school, may administer an opioid antagonist.

Trained employee or agent may administer an opioid antagonist, if the employee or agent has reason to believe that a person is experiencing an opioid-related overdose.The term “agent” includes contractors, volunteers, and board members.

An “opioid-related overdose” includes, but is not limited to, extreme physical illness, decreased level of consciousness, respiratory depression, coma, or death resulting from the consumption or use of an opioid.

Employee training must be approved by a licensed registered professional nurse.

No requirement that employee or agent training be approved by a licensed registered professional nurse.

Schools requiring employees to be trained in the administration of opioid antagonists must implement a policy that, among other things, requires school personnel to notify a parent or legal guardian of a pupil to whom an opioid antagonist has been administered.

No requirement that a school adopt or retain a policy.

Schools must report to MDE, at least annually, all instances of opioid antagonist administration to a pupil at school.

No reporting requirements.

Employee who administers an opioid antagonist in good faith and in compliance with the RSC is not civilly or criminally liable for any resultant damages, unless the employee is grossly negligent.

Employee or agent who administers an opioid antagonist in good faith and in compliance with the AOAA is not civilly liable for any resultant injuries or damages, unless the employee or agent is grossly negligent.

Employee or agent who administers an opioid antagonist in good faith and in compliance with the AOAA is not criminally liable for administering an opioid.

School district and school district board members are not civilly liable for any injuries resulting from an employee’s good faith administration of an opioid antagonist in compliance with the RSC.

School district that purchases, possesses, or distributes an opioid antagonist in compliance with the AOAA is not civilly liable for injuries or damages arising out of the administration of an opioid antagonist to a person, unless the conduct is grossly negligent.

School district that purchases, possesses, or distributes an opioid antagonist in compliance with the AOAA is not criminally liable for purchasing, possessing, or distributing an opioid antagonist.

Schools that have implemented policies required by the RSC to administer opioid antagonists should review those policies to ensure compliance with the AOAA. We will update our retainer clients as additional AOAA guidance becomes available.