Opioids are the silent killer at universities
Ways to stop the opioid epidemic
The opioid epidemic is the leading cause of accidental deaths across the United States. Whether it is being smuggled into the US or handed out like candy at clinics, opiates are becoming one of the worst drug crises in American history. With easy accessibility, combined with the huge influx in the supply of opioids, it is important to understand what effect this might have on young adults as they are more likely susceptible to overdose and addiction. According to CNN, the death toll is even higher among 15- to 24- year-olds, with an increase of 28 percent.
It’s hard to measure something as subjective as pain, and for doctors, pain measurement is all about taking their patient’s word for it. There are situations where people find themselves in serious pain as a result of an accident and will genuinely need a drug to relieve said pain. One can imagine how easy it could be for someone to exaggerate their discomfort to get access to pain medication. “I feel like opioids like Hydrocodone and Vicodin are good for high amounts of pain—like you just got your wisdom teeth taken out,” said first-year nursing major, Rubina Shrestha. “I also feel like if people were to take these drugs they should know that addiction can result from taking opioids and should take it accordingly and be cautious.”
For students on campus who know this is an issue, they understand that opioids are a problem that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. It is crucial to know of any resources on campus that can help if opioids have become a big influence in a student’s life, and The Health Center is a good place to start. “The Health Center performs screenings and talks to people about substance abuse,” as far as subscribing medication, Associate Health Director Jess Uszacki said. “If it is determined that a student does have an addiction, we’ll refer them to the appropriate resources.” The Health Center takes precaution when prescribing medication. If it’s for short-term pain, we’ll prescribe them acute medication, but if it’s for long-term pain we take them to a specialist.” While the problem of opioids is becoming more of an issue across the nation, universities like CU are taking the necessary precautionary measures to ensure safety throughout their campus.
The Health Education Specialists at the Health Center are creating a poster and digital campaign to raise awareness about drug addiction and overdose for students within the next month. In addition, the Counseling Center also has a harm reduction program where counselors help come up with goals to reduce drug and alcohol abuse among students and refer them to clinicians if the situations become severe. “I’m sure there are students on campus who know or have someone who has suffered from opioid addiction and overdose, and it’s important to make sure they are provided with the resources to get help,” Freshman Gabriella Pisani, a business major, said. Even just to be educated about it and become aware is enough because you can prevent anything bad from happening in the future.”