NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University’s emergency management office has announced an initiative aimed at enhancing the safety and well-being of the campus community by distributing Narcan, a potentially life-saving medication used to reverse opioid overdoses, to strategic locations around campus and by offering Narcan training sessions.
The announcement coincides with both Red Ribbon Week and October’s Fentanyl Awareness Month, the latter of which was established earlier this year by Gov. Greg Abbott’s signing of House Bill 3144.
“In our continuous commitment to ensuring the welfare of our students, faculty, staff and visitors, the distribution of Narcan to key areas on campus is part of SFA's comprehensive approach to addressing health and safety concerns, including the ongoing opioid epidemic affecting communities across the nation,” said Jeremy Pickett, SFA’s director of Emergency Management. “By placing Narcan in strategic locations, SFA is taking proactive measures to respond effectively to any potential overdose situations that may occur on our campus.”
According to the governor’s proclamation announcing Fentanyl Awareness Month, the drug is a powerful synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Just 2 milligrams of fentanyl, equal to 10 to 15 grains of table salt, is considered a lethal dose.
Illegally manufactured fentanyl is often found in stimulants, like cocaine and Adderall, and in counterfeit pills. As a result, many people may not know they're ingesting fentanyl, leading to an accidental poisoning. Fentanyl is now the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18-45. The state’s coinciding #OnePillKills campaign was established prior to the bill to “educate Texans on how to prevent, recognize and reverse fentanyl poisonings,” the proclamation reads.
While availability across campus is a key intent of SFA’s Narcan initiative, the emergency management office also is incorporating awareness and support through educational training and partnerships. Key details of the Narcan distribution on SFA’s campus include:
- Strategic locations: Narcan will be placed in easily accessible locations across campus, including residence halls, academic buildings, recreational facilities and public spaces. Specifically, Narcan will be placed with automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, in each location.
- Training and education: In conjunction with the Narcan distribution, SFA will provide training sessions for faculty, staff and students on recognizing the signs of an opioid overdose and administering Narcan upon request. These training sessions will empower individuals to take immediate action in the event of an overdose emergency.
- Confidential and nonjudgmental support: SFA remains committed to creating a safe and supportive environment where individuals facing substance abuse issues can seek help without fear of judgment or reprisal. SFA encourages any Lumberjack in need of assistance to reach out to its counseling and support services.
- Partnerships: This initiative is made possible through partnerships with the SFA University Police Department’s Emergency Management office; DeWitt School of Nursing; Division of Student Affairs; graduate athletic training program; and Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management Department.
“The collaborative partnerships across campus to make this initiative a reality exemplify our shared commitment to the well-being of our community,” Pickett said. “The safety and well-being of our students and campus community are our top priorities. The distribution of Narcan to strategic locations on campus underscores our commitment to providing a secure and caring environment. We hope that this initiative not only helps save lives but also raises awareness about the importance of addressing the opioid epidemic.”
Additionally, Pickett added, the Narcan distribution initiative aligns with SFA's broader mission to promote health, safety and accessibility within our campus community. By taking this proactive step, SFA aims to reduce the potential harm associated with opioid misuse and create an environment where individuals feel supported in seeking help when needed.
For more information about this initiative, or for those in the campus community interested in training sessions, contact Pickett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT STEPHEN F. AUSTIN STATE UNIVERSITY
Stephen F. Austin State University, the newest member of The University of Texas System, began a century ago as a teachers’ college in Texas’ oldest town, Nacogdoches. Today, it has grown into a regional institution comprising six colleges — business, education, fine arts, forestry and agriculture, liberal and applied arts, and sciences and mathematics. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, SFA enrolls approximately 11,000 students while providing the academic breadth of a state university with the personalized attention of a private school. The main campus encompasses 421 acres that include 37 academic facilities, nine residence halls, and 68 acres of recreational trails that wind through its six gardens. The university offers more than 80 bachelor’s degrees, more than 40 master’s degrees and four doctoral degrees covering more than 120 areas of study. Learn more by visiting the SFA website.