College overdoses

It seems that never a day goes by without reading about another young person overdosing and dying. Having spent over 30 years on a college campus, it pains me as I read the news. Just this past week Marco Troper, the son of Former YouTube CEO Susan Wojciki has died. He was a 19 year old student at Berkeley.

It is no secret that colleges are grappling with the rise of counterfeit pills and that the fentanyl crisis is following into college campuses. According to an NPR report Oct 18, 2023, colleges are now giving away Naloxone and sentential test strips as part of wellness campaigns at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and SUNY. Delhi University students are creating wellness packages. Nabraum Dasupta a UNC-Chapel Hill research sciences at the school of Public Health calls Naloxone “the anti-Funeral Drug”.

According to The Center of Disease Control, Fentanyl was involved in the vast majority of teen deaths in 2021. Nearly a quarter of those deaths involved counterfeit pills that were not prescribed icy a doctor. And the problem has been following teens onto college campuses. The CDC provides additional data: https://www.cdc.gov/opioids/data/index.html

There are many responses nationwide to the issue. United Educators has put forth a bulletin on how to respond to overdoses, while in California, Congressional Representatives Adam Schiff and Raul Ruiz recently introduced the HERO ACT (Helping Educators Respond to Overdoses), which would save lives by expanding access to reversal drugs and provide critical training for students and communities.

There is almost not community or college in the US that is not concerned about this issue. United Educators gives the following guidelines and Drug free provides  good guideline on how to work with a student to prevent overdose.

Nothing can take away the pain of a parent having to bury their child from an overdose. Parents are suppose to outlive their children, not bury them. College is, in theory, a time of curiosity, of fun, of scholarship, socialization and play. It’s a time to try out new relationships, as much as it is to take classes and choose a career path. Students are supposed to individuate and parents focus on letting them spread their wings. College often act “in-loco parents ” and students have many rights. Parents often find comfort in going the collegiate parent groups setting up communication patterns with their student etc. All that being said, it is a time of transition and change.

If you are worried about your student, feel free to reach out, we are here to help you navigate your way.