UW-Eau Claire has taken a step towards creating a safer campus by installing Narcan kits in multiple locations across campus.
“We want to recognize the fact that opioid-related deaths have increased in the last few years nationally, but even in Wisconsin,” said Brian Drollinger, director of risk management, safety and sustainability.
This increase has not gone unnoticed by UW-Eau Claire, and precautionary measures have been taken. Drollinger said the department of risk management, safety and sustainability is attempting to be proactive and take an initiative in providing life saving tools on campus.
A total of 19 anti-overdose kits were installed this summer in every residence hall, Hilltop Center, Davies Center, the Library, McPhee, Fine Arts, Zorn Arena and on the Barron County Campus.
These Narcan kits are mounted on the wall next to an automated external defibrillator and include Narcan nasal sprays, a mask and instructions on how to administer the spray. Narcan is a prescription nasal spray version of the medication Naloxone.
The medicated spray is meant to quickly counteract the overdose of opioids by blocking the brain from the detrimental effects of opioids.
“A key is knowing that if a person suspects that somebody’s overdosing — even if they don’t know for sure — to go ahead and administer Narcan. It’s not going to harm the person at all,” Christy Prust, a health educator, said.
The Narcan boxes should be used if a person is exhibiting any signs of opioid overdose, in an emergency or non-emergency context.
Common signs of an opioid overdose include troubled or slow breathing, sleepiness, trouble waking from sleep, cool or clammy skin and bluish or purple lips or fingernails.
Prust emphasized that the general public is reacting positively to the installation of the Narcan kits. With kits having been installed at UW–Oshkosh previously, Prust said the addition of the Narcan kits to campus was welcomed and appreciated by both students and parents.
As laced opioids become a more prevalent danger nationwide, the necessity of these anti-overdose kits grows. Fentanyl is a particular drug that has been highlighted in CDC releases and recent news.
“It’s even being seen in marijuana around the community,” Prust said, on the matter of Fentanyl-laced drugs.
Prust said she hopes the Narcan kits will be an available resource to prevent overdose deaths from happening on campus.
In-person training sessions are available for UW- Eau Claire students, staff, and faculty. The first session will be held from 2 p.m.-3 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27th in Centennial Hall. The second option will be held from 9 a.m.-10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 30 in Centennial Hall.
Additionally, online training videos are available. These online trainings take only three to five minutes to complete.
Though these training sessions are informative and helpful, Prust said a person does not need formal training in order to administer the Narcan to themselves or others. The provided instruction booklet in the box explains the process adequately.
Prust said the Narcan kits are there for prevention, noting that if somebody needs them, they can take the kits with them just to have them available as a lifesaving resource.
Students can visit The Wisconsin Department of Health Services for more information about Narcan and protection tips.
O’Brien can be reached at [email protected].