100 new cabinets containing free Narcan and fentanyl check strips will probably be put in in dorms throughout campus beginning this week.
College students started advocating for extra opioid hurt discount assets on campus following the dying of a scholar attributable to an unintentional fentanyl overdose 4 years in the past. Now, Narcan — the nasal spray that reverses an opioid overdose — and fentanyl check strips are broadly out there on campus, together with in scholar residences.
Simply months after the scholar’s overdose, in Spring 2020, Vilina Mehta ’22 M.S. ’23 M.D. ’28 took HUMBIO 163: “The Opioid Epidemic: Utilizing Neuroscience to Inform Coverage and Legislation” — a category that coated each the neuroscience behind opioid use and coverage initiatives that might handle the epidemic.
The Campus Opioid Overdose Prevention Undertaking (CO-OP) first started as a remaining undertaking for this class. Mehta — who didn’t know what fentanyl was, not to mention its nationwide impression, previous to taking the category — collaborated with classmates Max Moss ’21 and Nicole Tecia ’21, a third-year Ph.D. scholar in utilized physics, to create a coverage intervention to handle one side of the opioid epidemic: hurt discount on school campuses.
The trio began CO-OP with two objectives: coaching the campus group to acknowledge and reply to overdoses and elevating consciousness concerning the opioid epidemic.
Mehta mentioned their work was initially met with resistance from the College, which on the time, took an abstinence method to regulating opioid use on campus. Nevertheless, following persistent advocacy and with college help, CO-OP started working with the Workplace of Substance Use Applications Schooling & Sources (SUPER) in September 2021.
“Our work actually shifted the narrative at Stanford from being an abstinence-focused method to being like a harm-reduction method,” Mehta mentioned. “The aim of hurt discount is to save lots of lives and make sure that one thing like what occurred in winter 2020 doesn’t occur once more.”
The College didn’t reply to a request for touch upon its earlier hurt discount coverage.
Mehta started instructing scholar well being peer educators, referred to as PEERs, find out how to lead their very own Narcan trainings final yr. Since February 2023, PEERs have held hour-long, biweekly Narcan trainings on the Nicely Home, a substance-free dorm.
Natalie Lynch, the assistant dean of scholars and director of schooling and outreach for SUPER, mentioned trainings instruct individuals on find out how to detect an overdose and find out how to use Narcan and fentanyl check strips. The trainings additionally cowl the historical past of the opioid epidemic and the assets out there to college students on campus.
“We spend time working by completely different situations the place people may encounter an opioid overdose and actually stroll by find out how to handle that step-by-step, so that folk stroll away with extra of that confidence round managing that state of affairs and figuring out what to do,” Lynch mentioned.
In accordance with SUPER, over 1,400 Stanford associates have participated in Narcan trainings since 2020. College students, workers and school can drop by the Nicely Home for trainings, and any affiliate can request a coaching for organizations they’re a part of.
“We all know from previous surveys that 98% of scholars stroll away feeling like they’re assured in figuring out an opioid overdose and 99% of scholars mentioned, ‘Yep, I really feel ready to manage Narcan in an opioid overdose,’” Lynch mentioned. Contributors are given Narcan to hold with them round campus after the trainings.
Overdose detection and utilizing Narcan and fentanyl check strips have additionally turn out to be a compulsory a part of resident assistant (RA) coaching as of the 2022-23 faculty yr. Mehta has led RA trainings for the previous two years since SUPER employed her as a hurt discount specialist.
Ralph Castro, affiliate dean of scholars and director of SUPER, mentioned the aim is “at all times to extend entry to Narcan throughout campus.”
“It’s a secure medicine that saves lives,” Castro mentioned. “And so we intend to proceed to broaden entry in each method we are able to.” Narcan and the check strip kits will also be discovered at SUPER’s workplace in Rogers Home.
Fentanyl check strips, which might present leads to below 5 minutes, are one other key a part of the trainings. They’re out there on campus as a part of the Chem-X initiative.
Chem-X founder Alec Manko ’23 seen the identical points as Mehta, Moss and Tecia concerning opioids on school campuses. Manko mentioned that the truth that fentanyl overdose is the main explanation for dying for younger Individuals was motive sufficient to take motion and supply assets to assist college students perceive opioid use and entry to hurt discount methods on campus.
Manko mentioned he approached “this as a design drawback.”
“With such a stake within the matter, as that is one thing that impacts me, my group, my classmates [and] my college students, I imagine that everybody ought to care about [this] and everybody needs to be a champion for drug security and never simply look the opposite method,” Manko mentioned.
Final yr, Manko started making the testing kits with three fentanyl check strips, directions, a pipette, a microscooper and a mixing cap. He put them in a couple of dorms to check the product, and by spring, SUPER and Chem-X collaborated and put the kits in over 20 dorms, specializing in Row homes.
Manko mentioned the aim of Chem-X is to not “preach abstinence” — as a substitute, it takes a proactive method to drug security.
“The slogan is ‘buddies in opposition to fentanyl.’ It’s buddies serving to buddies keep alive and secure,” Manko mentioned. “How a problem like that is averted and the way we cease shedding so many lives to unintentional overdose is by friends standing up and fascinating and serving to different friends.”
The newly put in Chem-X cabinets embrace free fentanyl check strip kits, Narcan and academic and reporting assets that may be accessed by a QR code. College students may also use the QR code to request for the station refills.
Contributors of the Narcan trainings be taught that fentanyl check strips usually are not fail-safe by a “chocolate chip cookie paradigm.”
“Let’s say you narrow a tablet in half, and also you check it, and it’s destructive, which suggests there’s no fentanyl,” Mehta mentioned. “That drug nonetheless might not essentially be secure as a result of like the opposite half of the tablet may need fentanyl in it.”
Castro mentioned it is vital for college kids to grasp how widespread fentanyl is.
“It’s a really critical epidemic, and it is vitally critical right here in Santa Clara County. We’re one of many epicenters of the opiate epidemic,” Castro mentioned. “One tablet can kill. It’s important to count on fentanyl in any kind of illicit drug that you just get on the illicit market.”
Biweekly Narcan coaching periods resumed this yr on Monday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. on the Nicely Home.
College students fighting substance abuse can search assistance on campus by the Workplace of Substance Use Applications Schooling & Sources (SUPER).
A earlier model of this text misstated the variety of new cabinets. The Each day regrets this error.