SGA bringing life-saving drug to Newman

By Victor Dixon, Editor-in-Chief

Newman University will soon add boxes of a drug known to stop opioid overdoses to each emergency AED box on campus.

On Feb. 13th, Newman’s Student Government Association passed a resolution that will place a two-dose box of nasally administered Naloxone, also known over-the-counter as Narcan, into the 11 AED (Automated External Defibrillator) boxes stationed all over campus.

Narcan is used in the case of potentially life-threatening opioid overdoses or exposures, which have recently created a nationwide epidemic, even affecting those who do not have an opioid addiction. This first round of the medication is being provided by the DCCCA, an organization based in Douglas County, along with directions for how to approach an emergency and use the medication.

“Fentanyl has been laced in many different drug categories including marijuana, as well as on just regular street items like on folded money,” said SGA Senator Joshua Dessenberger, who proposed the bill. “Candy’s been laced with it.”

Dessenberger said he spoke with Security Director Steve Patton about the problem, which they agreed could affect Newman’s campus.

“We do have a lot of foot traffic through the university, and sometimes stuff can get dropped,” Dessenberger said. “Sometimes there can be unintended exposures to things like this, and this is just another alternative means to address an emergency if possible.”

Dessenberger’s aspirations and prior experience in the medical field have inspired and informed this decision, which he hopes will benefit Newman and make it a safer place both before and following his graduation.

“I’m headed to the University of Kansas School of Medicine in the fall, which I’m really looking forward to,” he said. “I wanted to leave something with the university that would last and have a good impact. I’ve worked in the ER the last couple of years, and we see opioid overdoses relatively frequently.”

Narcan is commonly relied on by workers in EMS and emergency rooms as one of the most effective ways of reversing an opioid overdose.

 “It is kind of like an AED. That’s why I have them in the AED boxes,” he said. “You don’t expect people to have heart attacks, but if they do, you have an AED. You don’t expect people to overdose on an opioid like fentanyl or heroin, but if it were to happen, we’d have a means to help.”

The resolution also ensures that moving forward, the Dean of Students and the Security and Grounds Committee of SGA  will be making sure the units of the medication on campus are stocked and unexpired.

“We’re here at Newman to transform society, and I believe part of that is being a well-informed individual of society, so realizing that there is an epidemic out there to the extent of not picking up anything you see on the ground and being aware of signs and symptoms of opioid-dependent use in friends and family members, it will be easier to address.”

PHOTO: Matthew Fowler, A&E Editor