For years, higher education institutions have ensured that tools such as automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are available and accessible in case of emergencies. Now, in recognition of the devastating state of the national opioid crisis and with the aim of protecting others, Marymount University in Arlington has expanded its NARCAN training program by adding emergency kits across its campuses while also increasing the number of group trainings available to community members.
Twenty-nine new opioid overdose emergency boxes were installed on Marymount’s Main Campus and three at its Ballston Center — all directly adjacent to AED locations. They provide anyone on university property with emergency access to the lifesaving medication NARCAN, while also helping to reduce stigma and normalize the drug as a common first aid tool.
“Our NARCAN training program is just the latest example of Marymount’s efforts to be a good neighbor in our Arlington County community,” said Marymount President Irma Becerra. “Having this lifesaving drug available and accessible is so important for all higher education institutions today, and Marymount is leading the way on this critical initiative.”
NARCAN, also known as naloxone, is a medication that can safely and effectively reverse an opioid overdose from prescription painkillers, heroin and/or fentanyl.
“NARCAN is safe to administer to anyone, and it’s one of the easiest ways to save a life. There aren’t negative side effects because its sole purpose is to knock opioids off of receptors in the brain, restoring normal breathing,” said Arlington County Opioids Program NARCAN Trainer Jim Dooley. “Basically, when in doubt, you should administer NARCAN because it can’t hurt during an emergency.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced late last year that life expectancy in the U.S. had dropped to its lowest mark in two decades, due in part to fatal overdoses.
This health crisis spurred Marymount’s Office of Wellness, Prevention and Education to partner with Arlington County Behavioral Health in August 2018 to launch a harm reduction initiative on campus.
Find out more
Marymount’s next NARCAN training, open to the public, is Feb. 15, 3:30-4:30 p.m. in the Ballston Center. For more info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.