Narcan Kits: UST’s Eyes-Wide-Open Response to Nation’s Opioid Crisis and Death Rate
A shocking truth: Overdose is the nation’s leading cause of injury deaths. University of St. Thomas-Houston is taking an eyes-wide-open, proactive response to our country’s alarming opioid crisis and death rate due to drug overdose. St. Thomas is strategically locating life-saving Naloxone (Narcan) kits around campus. Inside the kit are gloves, instructions, and two doses of Narcan, an opioid overdose reversal medication. The simple nose spray kits are strategically located across campus in all Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Boxes identified with a Narcan decal. Specifically, they can be found in:
- Link Lee Mansion
- Malloy Hall
- Jones Hall
- Cullen Hall
- Doherty Library
- Center for Science and Health Professions
- UST Police Department
- Moran Center: Bookstore
- Crooker Center
- Jerabeck Activity and Athletic Center
- Guinan Hall
- Herzstein Enrollment Services Center
- Chapel of St. Basil
- Young Hall
- Veterans Center
Life-saving Red Kits Where They Need to Be
Each Tuesday in September, in-service training will be provided for faculty and staff in CSHP #241 at 10 a.m. The seminar goals and objectives are to familiarize faculty and staff with the Narcan kits, Narcan administration and share relevant information on drug overdose statistics (i.e., 187 people die in the U.S. every day from a drug overdose) and what to look for before using the proven antidote.
The highly informative presentation included the following:
· The most common drugs associated with overdose (heroin, cocaine, sedatives and antidepressants, drug combinations)
· That Narcan blocks the effects of opioids, such as heroin, morphine, oxycodone, methadone, fentanyl, hydrocodone, codeine
· That Houston has a growing fentanyl problem
· That overdose does not discriminate and can even happen to people on pain meds after surgery when they forget they already took their medication
· Symptoms to look for with an opioid overdose, such as difficulty breathing, vomiting, severe head pain, confusion, weak pulse, loss of consciousness
Medical authorization and training are not required to possess or use the Narcan antidote effectively and save a life. It’s that simple. The remedy is sprayed into the nostril and does not even require inhalation to quickly do its job.
Praying ‘We Never Have to Use It’
The Narcan Initiative at UST is led by Associate Professor Michael E. Sullivan, DBe, HEC-C, FACHE.
“I pray God we never need it, but I’m glad we have it,” Sullivan said. “And we’ve established the University’s policy and procedures for its maintenance, administration, and management on campus.”
UST Police Chief H.E. Jenkins said, “Whenever possible, UST police will act as the primary responders who administer Narcan and call 911 for immediate medical response. If our preparation can save one life, that’s what this is all about.”
UST’s proactive stance to save lives in the face of the country’s opioid crisis was only reinforced earlier this year when a fentanyl seizure in Houston proved to be sizeable enough to kill everyone in the Greater Houston Area.
Sullivan added, “The only choice that is clearly wrong is to do nothing.”