By Mary Niederberger

Gov. Tom Wolf today said it is legal for schools to stock and administer the overdose antidote naloxone and encouraged school districts and colleges to do so.

Naloxone is used to reverse the effects of overdoses from heroin and opioid prescription drugs.

The governor made the announcement with the support of state secretary of education Pedro Rivera, secretary of health Karen Murphy and secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Gary Tennis.

Those secretaries sent a letter to the superintendents of the state's 500 public school districts that emphasized their legal ability to store and administer naloxone under Act 139, which was passed in 2014.

The decision came as a result of a request from the Yough School District in Herminie to stock the medication, according to the governor's office.

It was determined that permission was not needed under the law and the secretaries noted that in rural areas it could take longer for emergency responders to reach someone experiencing an overdose.

As a result, the secretaries are encouraging all school districts to consider stocking the medication.

The governor's office said state police have saved more than 300 lives with naloxone. Mr. Tennis said it is now time to stock the medication at schools so that staff ranging from college dorm resident advisers to school nurses, can administer it when necessary.

The departments of health and drug and alcohol programs have online training for those who will administer the antidote in schools.

(c)2015 the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette