Recovery program brings opioid education to campus

Charles Thibodeaux, co-founder of Texas Overdose Naloxone Initiative, demonstrates how to administer Narcan in the event of an opiod overdose at the overdose prevention training held Tuesday in the Bobo Spiritual Life Center. Jessica Hubble | Multimedia Journalist Photo credit: Jessica Hubble

By Magdalayna Drivas | Reporter

The Baylor Recovery Program held a free overdose prevention training on Tuesday at the Bobo Spiritual Life Center, teaching students how to intervene in overdose situations.

The training was hosted by the Texas Overdose Naloxone Initiative (TONI) and RecoveryATX. Students and local addiction professionals learned how to recognize, evaluate and respond to an overdose from TONI co-founders Charles Thibodeaux and Mark Kinzly.

Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a medication that rapidly treats opioid overdose in an emergency situation. Thibodeaux demonstrated four ways to administer Naloxone, intravenous, auto-injectionable, nasal atomizer and nasal spray. Thibodeaux said it is completely safe to use.

“We have time to intervene,” Thibodeaux said. “An overdose isn’t immediate like you see in Hollywood. It can be, but it usually takes between one to three hours.”

Thibodeaux and Kinzly formed TONI in 2013 to decrease the adverse effects of opioids on Texans through education and community outreach. Thibodeaux said Texas ranks No. 50 out of the 50 states for access to drug treatment.

“We’re in the midst of an epidemic,” Thibodeaux said. “The number one cause of unintentional deaths in the United States is drug overdose. It’s probably going to get worse before it gets better.”

When Kinzly asked how many people knew someone who had overdosed, over half of the attendees raised their hands.

“What we’re talking about has affected our nation in a way no other drug epidemic has ever affected us,” Kinzly said. “In particular, in the age group in this room it’s an issue that will continue to affect you deeply.”

Kinzly said the United States has an appetite for opioids like nowhere else in the world and that drug experimentation is especially common on college campuses.

“There are high incidences of people that overdose based on where they use,” Kinzly said. “We sit in a community where dorms, fraternities, sororities, places like that where people will isolate because of the shame associated with drug use.”

Recovery program coordinator Lilly Ettinger said this is the first time Baylor has held an overdose training and that there will be similar programs in the future.

“This training is really good for those in pre-med, social work, anybody who is going to run across clients in the future that will have issues with opiates,” Ettinger said.

The Beauchamp Addiction Recovery Center (BARC) has been home of the Baylor Recovery Program since its grand opening in August. Ettinger said the BARC has been a positive impact on the campus community.

“I’m blown away by how comfortable people have gotten here so quickly and how much response there has been,” Ettinger said. “I’m very thankful.”

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