Thousands of lives in New Jersey have been saved by the heroin and opioid antidote known as Narcan.

Now, a just-announced measure would extend its reach into every high school throughout the Garden State.

Narcan (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

The legislation from Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo. D-Atlantic, would mandate that all high schools throughout the state — public, private and charter — carry Narcan, which can be administered through injection or nasal spray, to reverse the effects of heroin and other opioid drugs.

"We don't have any specific cases of children that overdosed in schools, but we're just trying to be proactive," Mazzeo told New Jersey 101.5. "We're trying to make sure that if something happens at the school, that we can save a life and get them to the treatment they need to get on the road to recovery."

Once trained, the school nurse would have the primary responsibility of administering the antidote in an emergency situation. Other employees can be designated for the task on a volunteer basis, and the bill provides immunity from liability.

Responding to the bill, the New Jersey State School Nurses Association said it's "always been ready to take action when it's needed" and "will continue to act to save lives."

According to the state Attorney General's office, Narcan has been administered by law enforcement and EMS more than 17,000 times since April 2014.

It would be up to individual schools how much of the antidote is on hand at one time, Mazzeo said.

He estimated the cost at a range of $35 to $60 per dose.

"If we save one life, it's worthwhile," Mazzeo said.

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