College combats opioid epidemic with workshops, offers free Narcan

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College combats opioid epidemic with workshops, offers free Narcan

City College Security Officers are trained to administer Narcan nasal spray to potentially prevent opioid overdoses.

City College Security Officers are trained to administer Narcan nasal spray to potentially prevent opioid overdoses.

Nate Stephenson

City College Security Officers are trained to administer Narcan nasal spray to potentially prevent opioid overdoses.

Nate Stephenson

Nate Stephenson

City College Security Officers are trained to administer Narcan nasal spray to potentially prevent opioid overdoses.

Valerie van den Broek, Features Editor

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In light of recent opioid overdoses among City College students, The Well and the Health and Wellness Center collaborated to put on overdose prevention workshops. City College worked together with the Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness to inform others on how to prevent an overdose using Narcan, which was provided to everyone in attendance.

“There is a national opioid crisis going on,” said Personal Counselor Lacey Peters.

Peters said City College felt the necessity for the overdose training after UCSB completed it.

“I really felt we needed to offer this kind of service,” Peters added.

Both training sessions were offered by John Doyel who is the Division Chief for the alcohol and drug program for the Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness.

Doyel said Santa Barbara is facing an opioid epidemic.

He said 25% of drug users in Santa Barbara use opioids, and in 2018 Santa Barbara saw 50 people die of opioid abuse.

“We went from undertreating pain to over-treating it,” Doyel added. “We had a horrible epidemic.”

Doyel said that another reason for the epidemic is low employment and high depression rates.

“The opioid epidemic is so bad, it needs to be addressed immediately,” he said.

Over 30 students and faculty attended the two training sessions and received free Narcan packages.

Narcan is a nasal spray that is used by spraying the medicine into the unconscious person’s nostrils. According to the Narcan website, it stops the opioid from taking effect by cutting it off for a period of time until the paramedics arrive.

Erik Fricke, head of campus security, emphasized the importance of the training and said nearly all officers attended the workshop.

“Most officers are trained and now carry Narcan with them,” Fricke said.

Peters said to always call for help if witnessing someone overdose, even if the caller is under the influence themselves. 

“Students should be aware to just call 9-1-1,” she said, adding that the caller is protected by the Samaritan Laws, meaning that the caller doesn’t have to worry about being arrested.

One City College student experienced this first hand when on Oct. 10 another student overdosed on opioids in parking lot 5-2 on West Campus.

“The student was suffering from what we believed was an overdose,” Fricke said. “Security responded at the same time the paramedics and police did.”

The student was breathing but unresponsive. The paramedics used Narcan before bringing the student to the hospital. 

“Most times one dose can bring someone back, but sometimes you need two,” Fricke added.

Flyers were given out during the training, giving information on how to use Narcan:

“Lay the person on their back, tilt their head, and spray the Naloxone into one nostril by pushing the plunger.”

Signs of someone overdosing can be unresponsiveness, slow or stopped breathing, blue or gray lips and pale, clammy skin.

Narcan is available in most pharmacies with a prescription request aid, downloadable from the Narcan website. The medicine costs around $70 per unit, but prices may vary per pharmacy and insurance might be able to cover the cost for some people. 

After the success of the first two workshops, The Well and The Health and Wellness Center are planning to give more training in the coming months about opioid abuse and plan to give out free Narcan again. 

“People come in to seek help for opioid abuse,” Peters said. “It’s a big deal. [Opioid abuse] is affecting our community.”

 

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