According to the 2015 College Prescription Drug Survey , 1 in 4 undergraduate students have misused a prescription medication at some point in their lifetime.
The Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Misuse Prevention and Recovery (HECAOD) understands the need for addressing this issue and the resource constraints, in both time and money, that campuses face.
To combat this, HECAOD developed ScreenU, a web-based screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) tool to identify students at-risk of experiencing negative consequences for prescription drug misuse and connect them with resources on their campus that can support their success.
SBIRT is supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). It was designed using evidence-based practices. Students answer questions from a screening tool that identify behaviors that would be considered substance abuse and the level of risk of dependence on the drug. ScreenU takes only 5-10 minutes to complete.
Benefits of ScreenU
ScreenU was designed with the college student in mind and provides feedback and resources that address the unique challenges that they face. It can be used in a variety of settings and contributes to a comprehensive approach to prevention. In addition, ScreenU is:
Based in research- based on the large body of research that supports SBIRT as an early intervention tool
Cost effective- widespread implementation can be done with limited resources since it does not require an appointment or face to face feedback
Personalized- with feedback specific to a person’s risk level and resources specific to the campus and surrounding community
Brief- takes less than 10 minutes, making it easy to complete in many settings
Flexible- Can be used in a variety of settings including student conduct, residence halls, student health services, or counseling centers.
Meets students where they are- Can be completed on a smart phone, tablet, or computer
How can I do that?Contact you local campus representative, student services coordinator or local anti-drug coaltion to see if they will help you put together a proposal to present to your university.
First responders are firefighters, police officers, and emergency medical technicians (EMTs). All three of these professions require continuous training throughout their career. With the use of opioids and the number of opioid overdoses, increasing, first responders need to know the most up to date information. They also need to be aware of the risks when responding to opioid-related emergency calls such as needles, the pysical environment, or even distraught family members. A training day would allow first responders to learn about the nature of opioid use and abuse and how to protect themselves, and others, from possible risk.
How do I do that?1. Determine location, date, and time of training day.2. Line up appropriate personnel to provide training (i.e., ER doctor/nurse, drug rehab counselor, etc.)3. Prepare training guides, handouts, etc.4. Create event invitations for local first responders.5. These people like to eat! Be sure to have free snacks and beverages available throughout the training day.
Health professionals can change the way they treat pain and reduce the chance that patients will become addicted to prescription medications. This can prove quite challenging for providers who must attempt to minimize misuse without impeding a patient’s access to medical care. Online training courses can help! Universities, medical associations, and other organizations are making it easier for medical practitioners to expand their knowledge about the opioid crisis, pain management, prescribing methods, and the science of addiction. Some online resources are free while others may have a cost associated. Continuing education credits (CMEs) can be offered through some of these courses.
How can I do that?Contact or do a web search of universities or medical associations to see what resources may be available regarding continuing education courses, or check out some of these organizations to help you get started.
Center for Disease ControlTennessee Medical Association
Nar-Anon Family Groups are meetings for people who have been or who are currently being affected by someone near to them who suffers from a substance abuse disorder. The groups do not teach a person how to help the ones they care about get sober. Instead, the groups focus on helping a person cope with the powerlessness felt in trying to force someone to get sober, and they emphasize how to concentrate on keeping life balanced– whether a loved ones become sober or not. These meetings are important in helping people understand their situations and learn how to cope with the feelings caused by their loved one’s affliction.
Like members of Nar-Anon Groups, Nar-Anon Family Group members follow a 12-step program designed to achieve a practical, healing spiritual awakening. In this process, members are encouraged to share their stories, read helpful provided materials, and participate in group volunteer service. All meetings are anonymous, and the groups hope to create a judgement-free environment–one where its members can recover a sense of purpose and self-confidence.
Narateen, a program for teenagers, provides a safe outlet for teenagers to learn coping skills surrounding substance abuse disorder and to share their unique experiences among those in their age group.
How can I do that?For more information, visit the Nar-Anon Family Groups page on Nar-Anon’s website.
Most people do not remember to dispose of their unused medications, which creates an opportunity for substance misuse. Often, patients are not told how to dispose of medication when they no longer need them, so many prescription medications end up being flushed down the toilet or thrown away in the trash. These disposal methods pollute the environment. Because of these two things, important to create awareness about the dangers of keeping unused prescriptions and how to properly dispose of them on a specific day in a convenient location nearby.
When creating a marketing plan for your event, consider the common marketing rule that a person needs to see an advertisement at least seven times before they will remember it. Use various forms of media for your ad, such as pamphlets, posters, billboards and social media posts. Try to place your ads in high traffic areas with strong visibility to reach as many people as possible. Target your advertising, when you can, by placing ads in places like doctor’s offices and pharmacies.
Many families and individuals want to prevent substance misuse and dispose of unused medication taking up space, making a Drug Takeback Day a valuable and potentially successful event. According to the Tennessean, the Nashville Drug Takeback day in April 2017 collected 212 pounds of pills and over 150 people brought in their old medications to Nashville pharmacies.
How can I do that?
There are several things you can do to get the word out about your Drug Takeback Day. Here are just a few options. You can do one, or you can do them all! It really is up to you and your community to decide which of these will encourage the most participation.
Option #1. Mention the benefits of participating in your advertisement.
Option #2. Present the successful data (number or participants or amount of drugs collected) of previous events.
Option #3. Include logos/statements from the organizations that will be collecting the unused prescriptions.
Option #4. Advertise any keynote speakers who will be at the event or any organizations that will have booths.
Option #5. Promote fun by including some family-friendly activities at your event.
The vast reach of the opioid crisis is not limited to adults, the poor, or urban areas. This epidemic is affecting students and their family members. More and more schools are finding it necessary to stock naloxone, better known by its brand name of Narcan, resuscitate overdose victims. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdose deaths have hit record numbers in recent years. The National Association of School Nurses supports keeping naloxone in schools, and law enforcement officers are now being equipped with the life-saving drug.
Kentucky, Rhode Island, Maryland, Ohio, North Dakota, Massachusetts, Delaware, and New York, have access to Narcan in their schools through their resource officers or school nurses. Some schools even allow other employees, such as administrative staff or teachers, to be trained and excused from liability if administration of naloxone is needed.
How can I do that?1. Contact your school’s administrators (principal, vice-principal, school board), local drug coalition, school resource officer, or nursing staff member to see what is already in place or what restrictions your school and district might have.2. Get funding and purchase Narcan! Adapt Pharma has a ‘Free NARCAN Nasal Spray High School Program’ that gives high schools Narcan for free. (Schools must adhere to the requirements listed on their application.) The Department of Health and Human Services Blue Cross Blue Shields of Tennessee have grants available.3. Train everyone that you can. Contact your local health department for training on how to use Narcan appropriately. The Department of Health and Human Services can help states pay for training.