The US is experiencing a brutal opioid epidemic. Tragedies have put a spotlight on prevention efforts and how those can be implemented in higher ed institutions. All factors considered, prevention initiatives make sense.
5 keys to preventing opioid overdoses:
- Education about overdose reversal In our survey, one in three students who responded did not know that opioid overdoses can be reversed with timely medical treatment.
- Education about addiction treatment Addiction, treatment, and recovery are difficult experiences to unpack. Someone managing substance abuse or addiction may not be willing to participate in treatment, or may believe that a problem is resolved after a period of sobriety. This can lead to a decrease in coordinated support and discontinued investment in treatment or related counseling services that have helped.
- Medical amnesty Also known as Good Samaritan or 911 protection. Individuals should understand laws that can protect them from legal consequences for simple drug possession when intervening in possible drug overdoses.
- Overdose intervention training Basic community-wide training should cover the signs of an opioid overdose, effective responses, and knowledge of naloxone.
- Access to naloxone Consider opportunities to learn more about administering naloxone (opioid overdose reversal treatment) if you think you may be in a position to use it.
+ Training college communities: GetNaloxoneNow.org
+ Opioid overdose prevention on college campuses: Journal of Drug Abuse
Free, confidential, 24/7 helpline (English and Spanish): SAMHSA
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