published : 2023-10-28

Colleges Arm Students with More Than an Education in the Fight Against Drug Overdoses

College students can get free naloxone and fentanyl test strips from their schools to prevent drug overdoses

A group of college students engaging in a lively discussion about drug safety on campus, taken with a Nikon D850.

When it comes to the opioid epidemic, colleges are arming their students with more than just an education.

College students, many of whom were born during the start of the opioid crisis, now have access to free naloxone and test strips.

These test strips can detect if drugs—such as opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, and cannabis—are illegally laced with fentanyl.

The alarming rise of fentanyl overdoses, which have become the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18 to 45, has prompted colleges to take action.

By providing students with these lifesaving resources, colleges aim to empower them to protect themselves and their peers against drug overdoses.

Young adults, especially college students, face unique challenges when it comes to substance use and abuse.

Many students recognize the importance of being vigilant about drug use on campus, especially with the increased prevalence of fentanyl-laced drugs.

A student from North Carolina expressed, 'As a new college student, and especially as a young woman, it is imperative for me to be hyper-aware of substance use and abuse on my college campus.'

The sentiment is echoed by others who believe that no student should turn a blind eye to drug use among their peers.

The illicit addition of fentanyl to drugs serves to make them cheaper, more potent, and more addictive.

Dr. Elie G. Aoun, an addiction and forensic psychiatrist, warns that recreational drug use among college students is on the rise.

A student demonstrating how to use a naloxone kit while educating their peers about the importance of preventing drug overdoses, taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

These students often obtain drugs from second- and third-hand dealers, increasing the risk of unintentionally consuming fentanyl-laced substances.

The danger lies in the fact that fentanyl can be up to 100 times more potent than morphine, leading to fatal consequences even in small amounts.

To combat this growing issue, colleges are adopting proactive measures to create a safer environment for their students.

Recognizing that education is vital, colleges are taking steps to educate students about the dangers of drug use.

Moreover, colleges are providing students with free naloxone and fentanyl test strips as additional tools in the battle against drug overdoses.

Narcan, the brand name for naloxone, can effectively reverse the effects of opioids by blocking their receptors in the brain.

By implementing programs that offer naloxone, colleges are equipping their students with the means to save lives in the event of an overdose.

Additionally, fentanyl test strips are being distributed to help students detect the presence of this lethal opioid in recreational drugs.

These efforts are part of a widespread movement to encourage harm reduction and prevent unnecessary tragedies.

Colleges across the country are taking a united stand against drug use on campuses.

By fostering joint efforts between students and formal programs, colleges hope to make significant progress in addressing the fentanyl crisis.

A college campus poster campaign promoting the availability of free fentanyl test strips and naloxone for students, taken with a Sony Alpha a7 III.

A student emphasized the importance of collaboration, stating, 'While it's hard to imagine a perfect solution, students and colleges can make progress together through a joint effort.'

Creating an atmosphere of openness and support is crucial in empowering students to make informed decisions and seek help when needed.

Medical professionals stress the significance of recognizing the signs of opioid overdose and taking immediate action.

Unfortunately, many students are hesitant to disclose their substance use, making them more vulnerable to overdoses.

Dr. Sandra Gomez-Luna, an assistant clinical professor at Yale School of Medicine, urges students to be cautious and seek emergency care when needed.

She emphasizes the critical role that students can play in saving lives by promptly calling 911 or emergency services.

Recent legislation is also driving change, with some states now requiring public colleges to offer naloxone to students.

By increasing access to naloxone and fentanyl test strips, colleges are empowering their students to be first responders in the face of a drug overdose.

The efforts being made by colleges nationwide send a resounding message: the well-being and safety of students are paramount.

By arming students with the tools and knowledge to combat drug overdoses, colleges are demonstrating their commitment to creating a healthier and more secure environment.

As the fight against the opioid epidemic continues, these initiatives offer hope for a brighter future, free from the devastating consequences of drug overdoses.