Rx Summit Spotlight | Officials Aim to Improve Overdose Prevention and Naloxone Availability on Campuses

(Addiction Professional, March 2) As opioid-involved deaths climb across the country, university administrators are tasked with developing comprehensive plans for keeping their campuses safe.

At the upcoming Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit, Allison Smith, PhD, senior program administrator for the Louisiana Board of Regents, and Cecelia Spitznas, PhD, senior policy analyst for ONDCP, will discuss improving overdose prevention efforts and naloxone availability on college campuses.

Ahead of that presentation, Smith spoke with Addiction Professional about the specific groups within college populations at the greatest risk for opioid overdose, crafting policy around naloxone administration on campus, and keys for getting buy-in from university leaders across the state.

Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Certain groups within the overall college population are at an increased risk of opioid overdose. Who are these groups, and why is their risk heightened?

Specifically with opioids, it tends to be more of an issue with Greek life—sororities and fraternities—or even some of our athletic students. That’s a key group some people miss. Those students are more routinely prescribed high doses of medications. With athletes who are rehabbing injuries to quickly get back on the field, there’s an opportunity for misuse there. [We must be] sure that when we are educating the general campus, we are also including athletics in that discussion as well.

We utilize Generation Rx through the Ohio State University. They focus on safe medication practices and modeling safe patient behaviors. They’ve partnered nationally with about six or seven fraternities and sororities to put that program in all of their chapters across the nation. We know there is a shield of liability those students have when they have on-campus housing as opposed to traditional residence halls on campuses. Students in Greek life tend to have a higher misuse rate across the board. Read more on Addiction Professional's website.