Colleges Can Provide Free Naloxone And Fentanyl Test Strips To Avoid Drug Overdose: Know More Here

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

College students, many of whom were born at the beginning of the opioid crisis, now get free naloxone and test strips.

Colleges Can Provide Free Naloxone And Fentanyl Test Strips To Avoid Drug Overdose: Know More Here

The test strips may detect fentanyl contamination in drugs such as opiates, cocaine, methamphetamine, and cannabis.

“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,” said a first-year college student in North Carolina to Fox News Digital.

“No student should turn a blind eye to drug use habits among young adults, especially given the uptick in drugs laced with potent opioids like fentanyl,” the same student said.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, fentanyl overdose deaths will be the top cause of death for Americans aged 18 to 45 in 2021.

“Drug use on campuses nationwide is a concerning and detrimental trend that undermines the educational environment and the well-being of students,” said a student in Seattle to Fox News Digital.

“It not only poses significant health risks but also hinders academic and personal growth, demanding strict preventive measures and support for those affected.”

According to the California Department of Public Health, illicit fentanyl is added to medications to make them cheaper, more powerful, and more addicting.

People can cease breathing if they are exposed to a small amount of fentanyl, which is 100 times more strong than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin.

Extremely Vulnerable Population

“Most college students who use drugs do not have substance use disorders — rather, they’re using drugs recreationally, in party settings,” said Dr. Elie G. Aoun, an addiction and forensic psychiatrist at Columbia University in New York City.

Their actions raise the risk of consuming fentanyl-laced drugs because many obtain them from second- and third-hand drug dealers, according to Aoun, who is also a member of the American Psychiatric Association Board of Trustees.

“But just as their use continues to increase, students need to know that these pressed pills can look so much like prescription pills, and it is impossible sometimes to distinguish them with the naked eye,” Dr Sandra Gomez-Luna, assistant clinical professor in the department of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine in Connecticut, told Fox News Digital.

“The content of fentanyl most likely will vary with some pills carrying more than others,” she said.

“We know that only the smallest amount of fentanyl or its derivatives can kill.”

Great Caution Is Needed

Students should be exceedingly cautious about using cocaine and ecstasy, which are commonly used by college students, because these chemicals are most likely tainted with a mixture of other drugs, including fentanyl, according to Aoun.

“While it’s hard for me to imagine a perfect solution to the fentanyl issue, I believe students and colleges can start making progress together via a joint effort between a student’s individual decisions and formal programs supported by colleges themselves,” a student told Fox News Digital.

College students may be unaware of the potential side effects of the drugs they are taking, particularly how an opioid overdose manifests itself to medical experts.

“More and more students are choosing not to use alone, but there are still a lot of students who would not disclose what they are using to their friends and families for many reasons,” Gomez-Luna told Fox News Digital.

“This makes them more vulnerable to overdoses.”

The health professional added, “Students can also play a big role in calling 911 or emergency services, even if they are not sure what is happening with the student at the time, as you know the minutes post-overdose are critical for survival and no time should be wasted … 911 calls can be anonymous, hopefully facilitating that students are willing and able to access emergency care when needed.”

Harm-Reduction Policies

Many institutions are banding together to better educate their students about the hazards of illegal drug use and to provide more free fentanyl test strips and naloxone.

Narcan, the brand name for naloxone, “knocks” opioids off their brain receptors, reversing its effects.

“Naloxone is a medication, an opioid receptor blocker, approved by the FDA to rapidly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose,” Gomez-Luna said.

“It comes in several forms. The most commonly used and prescribed, and available now over the counter, is the intranasal naloxone preparation.”

She advised students to learn how to obtain and use naloxone kits, particularly the intranasal type because it is simple to learn and administer.

Recent legislation now compels all SUNY and CUNY public institutions in New York to provide Narcan in student housing facilities, and most California public colleges do as well.

Fentanyl strips were first used in medical settings to detect fentanyl in urine samples, according to the doctor.

“Now they have been used as a way of practising harm reduction, to detect fentanyl in counterfeit pills and other drugs like heroin and stimulants like cocaine in hopes of preventing overdoses,” Gomez-Luna said.

According to Fox News Digital, Cal Poly Humboldt in Arcata, California, allows students to discreetly access kits for free via health vending machines, the student health centre, and health education programmes.

“The fentanyl test strips are packaged with all contents to test one’s drugs including a cotton swab, tube with liquid, and analyzer,” the school said.

Students can also have as many boxes of Narcan as they desire, with two sprays in each package.

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