Texas college students, fearing opioid deaths, teach each other to reverse overdoses – houston chronicle west la college medical assistant

The goal is to give students naloxone and teach them how to use it, so that they can save a life if they encounter a peer showing symptoms of an overdose. The new training comes even as many texas public universities lack written policies on naloxone distribution, though the state has made the drug available over the counter thanks to 2015 legislation.

Supporters of the program compare the availability of narcan to fire extinguishers or automated external defibrillators that are mainstays of campus and other buildings.

“the majority of the doses are likely going to go unused — that’s a good thing,” said lucas hill, a UT-austin pharmacy professor who directs a program called operation naloxone that UH students plan to expand into houston this semester.

“most fire extinguishers get tossed out without being used.College students this is similar.”

Opioid abuse in texas hasn’t resulted in the overwhelming frequency of overdose deaths seen in west virginia, pennsylvania or new hampshire, according to the centers for disease control and prevention.

But recent rises are statistically significant, CDC data show. In 2015, 2,588 people overdosed from drugs in texas, the center said, and the figure rose to 2,831 in 2016. Harris county had between 14 and 15.9 deaths from drug poisoning per 100,000 residents in 2016, slightly higher than most other texas counties, according to the CDC. That figure has increased since 2010.

Four percent of texas college students misused opioids in 2017, including codeine, according to the state’s health and human services department.

Despite this, and despite state law passed by the legislature in 2015 to increase the availability of the drug, at least 24 of 35 four-year texas public universities do not have written policies related to the distribution of naloxone, according to a houston chronicle review of university policies from open records requests.Said they

At least 50 A&M medical and nursing staff members were trained this fall for the first time to treat overdosing students, and EMS staff have long carried naloxone, said martha dannenbaum, who directs A&M’s student health services.

“we felt as a medical organization that it was best for us to ensure that everyone who might encounter this within our facility be trained,” dannenbaum said. “drug use, misuse and abuse exists everywhere. It’s not just the homeless population or the poor, it’s everyone from the highest administrative areas to young people that are functional.”

Joy alonzo, a clinical assistant pharmacy professor at A&M’s health science center, said she hopes networks like operation naloxone get ahead of the issue before deaths in texas spike.College students

Some critics, including mike gimbel — a former “drug czar” for baltimore county, md., who now talks to college athletes about drug use — say addicts will simply overdose again without long-term treatment.

Gimbel, a former heroin addict who has been clean for more than 40 years, praises narcan as a “miracle drug” but said distributing naloxone to friends and family of addicts is an expensive “quick-fix solution.”

Trainings at UT-austin started in small groups. Residence advisers — supervisors of each floor of UT-austin dorms — received one-hour training sessions on how to respond to opioid overdoses with naloxone.

They asked key questions: can you give someone too much? If you take this with other drugs, what happens? And they learned that they would have 24-7 access to naloxone in each residential facility.College students

Then, hill said, he began training pharmacy students to lead their own overdose prevention training sessions. About 300 students in pharmacy, medicine and social work have received this training, he said, and they have taught more than 600 people in student and community groups to use naloxone.

Goran flajc, a UH doctoral pharmacy student, said his student organization is planning to train more students and distribute naloxone this semester.

David persse, city of houston EMS physician director, said the drug is relatively easy to administer and cannot do harm if it is mistakenly administered on someone who is not overdosing.

Alonzo said putting the drug in students’ hands can save time — and potentially lives. The time that spans between an overdose and a student’s trip to a health center could prove fatal, she said.Said they

Two texas A&M at kingsville students said they want alonzo to train pharmacy students this semester. Then, the students hope to train resident advisers and others in early march.

“it’s an unfortunate problem to have, but it is a risk reduction strategy,” said third-year pharmacy student austin bridges, of the woodlands. “and for now, it’s the best strategy we have in taking on this challenge.”

Anti-overdose drugs became more easily accessible in texas after gov. Greg abbott signed into law senate bill 1462 in 2015. The bill allows for naloxone to be prescribed through a standing order to anyone at risk of overdose as well as family, friends or others in a position to assist those people, and a provision in the law allows nonprofits and other organizations to distribute the drug to people who may be able to use it to save lives.This semester

It also indicates that people who act in good faith in deciding whether or not to prescribe or use the drug do not face criminal or civil liability. Not one lawmaker voted against the bill.

It’s a significant step as many college students indicate that they would not know how to help an overdosing peer. A survey commissioned by the hazelden betty ford institute for recovery advocacy and the christie foundation found that more than 37 percent of 1,200 college-age adults surveyed said they would not know where to go for help in event of an overdose.

Universities say known opioid overdoses are rare on their campuses. UH police officers do not carry naloxone with them, rosen said, in part due to the infrequency.

Hill said that to his knowledge one dose of the drug has been opened from the dorm distribution sites.Said they A university of texas police officer withdrew the drug for a person who became responsive without needing it, he said.

“new hampshire, virginia … That’s an epidemic,” he said. “here on campus, we’re seeing alcohol and other types of abuse. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen here, (but) we don’t see it.”