College of DuPage's student newspaper | Est. 1967

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Colleges across U.S. offered free opioid reversing drug, COD already ahead of the curve

Kitt Fresa, News Editor

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Colleges across the U.S. are being offered a free drug called Naloxone that can reverse opioid overdoses, luckily College of DuPage is already equipped.

America’s notorious opioid epidemic hasn’t been getting better, in fact according to the Centers for disease control and prevention, “Opioids (including prescription opioids and heroin) killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, more than any year on record. Nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid.” Chicago is no exception, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health there were 2,113 heroin deaths in Illinois from 2013 to 2015. Some 1,425 of those deaths happened in Chicago and its collar counties. DuPage county has had it’s fair share of overdoses as well, in an interview with local COD Detective Raul Valladares, he stated that “over one hundred” overdoses had been reported.

Opioid overdosing may have turned into a full blown epidemic, but Naloxone has proven to be an excellent countermeasure to the rising number of casualties. “About three or four years ago when Naloxone started becoming popular, the increase of saves, how many people have been brought back, has increased every year. People are overdosing, it’s not a mystery, but luckily Naloxone is saving some of them and bringing them back and hopefully getting them to where they can get help and kick the habit.” said Detective Valladares.

When asked if COD offered Naloxone on campus Detective Valladares said, “I guess offer is the wrong word, we do have it, our officers are trained in it. We do periodical roll call trainings, so it’s kind of like a refresher training, but everybody including full time and part time officers are certified to carry it. They do carry it with them and there’s also a couple of extra doses here at the Police Department and at the Dispatch Center in case anybody runs out they grab more from there.”

Several organizations have recognized this epidemic as well, The Clinton Foundation in addition to Adapt Pharma have been working together to give colleges 40,000 doses of Naloxone. Naloxone also happens to be a simple nasal spray which is FDA approved. That design was intentional by it’s creators, the goal was to make it simple enough to where ordinary people who weren’t trained in administering the drug could use it anyways and potentially save a life. The effort isn’t just limited to colleges as well, high schools across the nation have been given a total of 3,000 doses across 33 states according to Mike Kelly, the U.S. president of Adapt Pharma.

When asked, “has COD ever considered putting stations of Naloxone around campus for student use in case an office isn’t around?” Detective Valladares responded with “Actually that hasn’t been proposed. We are fortunate here that we have a police department and most of the time it doesn’t take as long as it does for a municipality to respond. We get there quickly, and that might be part of the reason we didn’t even consider that. So short answer is no we have not considered that at this moment.”

Also when asked, “has anybody used Naloxone on campus before?” he responded by saying “As of this moment, (knocks on wood) we have not had to.”

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College of DuPage's student newspaper | Est. 1967
Colleges across U.S. offered free opioid reversing drug, COD already ahead of the curve