By Yasmin Rubayo, Staff Writer—
Feb. 20, 2020, UTC’s Center for Student Wellbeing hosted Opioid Reversal Training in the UC Signal Mountain Room.
The one-hour class, as it has been taking place every semester for the past three years, consists of recognizing signs of opioid overdose, using an applicator to administer Naloxone, and getting people to the help they need, safely.
Interim Director of the Center for Student Wellbeing Tricia Henderson pointed out that the medicine “knocks the opioids off the receptors in the brain.”
“I chair the Hamilton County Coalition and I’ve worked with them for about ten years since I’ve been in this position at UTC,” Henderson mentioned.
The Coalition has been tracking the deaths by overdose and trying to find ways to get to people who are experiencing overdose or withdrawal into treatment.
“When I found out about this program they have, I really wanted to partner with them, not necessarily because we’ve seen any overdoses on campus, but because I know it impacts a lot of people including faculty, staff, students, and their families,” Henderson said.
The history behind opioid addiction began with doctors who heard of a group of drugs that would take care of their patients’ pain without the costly risk of addiction.
Drugs such as Oxycodone, Morphine, and Hydrocodone were prescribed in record numbers in the 1990s, causing over 30 years of opioid deaths that oftentimes could have been avoided had people known that opioid addiction can take place within five days of the first use.
Several years ago, the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) began monitoring opioid overdose deaths, with the numbers rising significantly since introduction.
According to the CDC, opioid overdose deaths count for 130 fatalities in America every day.
Doctors have had to be reeducated on how to administer pain meds to their patients to avoid the number of addicted individuals growing.
“What they’re finding in the community is the push to prevent in the medical model has pushed heroin use higher because people who can’t get their pills through their doctors are having to go to the street,” Henderson said. ”So, we’ve almost created another epidemic and another problem by trying to prevent the problem that was originally happening.”
Though the training at UTC is over for this semester, the Hamilton County Coalition is working tirelessly to prevent more deaths in the community.
Opioid Prevention Training is being held at various classrooms throughout the city, in classrooms, workplaces, and community centers.
The Hamilton County Coalition’s calendar of events, such as Opioid Prevention Training, can be found here.
Attending one of these sessions not only educates the public but also puts Naloxone in the hands of those who can give someone in danger of losing their life a chance to get help.