OPINION: Narcan should be easily accessible on USF’s campus

With opioid overdose deaths increasing across the country, it is essential that USF makes Narcan nasal spray easily accessible throughout campus. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/FLICKR

The FDA approved Narcan to be sold over the counter in an attempt to reduce opioid overdoses in the U.S. on March 29, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website.

The most recent survey of drug overdoses in the U.S. reports over 80,000 opioid overdose deaths in 2021, according to research from the National Institute of Drug Abuse. To reduce this number, it is essential that college campuses such as USF make Narcan accessible for students and faculty.

Narcan nasal spray is a type of medicine for individuals that have overdosed from the use of opioids, according to the Narcan website. Now that it is sold over the counter, it is easily accessible to the general population.

Opioids are a type of drug that can be used to relieve pain but can be highly addictive, which is why users must be cautious. In 2021 the fentanyl epidemic began, a highly potent opioid drug, that became the number one cause of death in individuals ages 18-25, according to an August 2022 article by Stanford University Student Affairs.

One third of college students know someone that has overdosed on a drug, according to a July 2022 article from United Educators. 

Although Narcan is a fairly new treatment for opioid overdoses, its effect has already been seen. A 14% decrease in opioid deaths was noted after states made Narcan easily accessible, according to a June 2021 article from the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

Due to its effectiveness, it is crucial for all college campuses including USF to make this medicine easily accessible for all students. Bridgewater State University was the first university to implement this solution providing this treatment at about 60 different locations across campus, according to the Bridgewater State University Health and Wellness website.

University of Texas at Austin has also shown this solution for opioid overdose death, as they provide Narcan in all residence halls and in front of their student library, according to The University of Texas at Austin University Health Services website.

Although USF provides facts about different drugs and addictive substances, according to the Center for Student Well-Being website, they fail to provide treatment plans or drug safety plans for students. 

By placing Narcan nasal spray in multiple areas across campus such as next to AED machines, any bystander will have the opportunity to save someone’s life from an opioid overdose. 

The opioid use epidemic continues to increase, so it is essential that our community takes action in decreasing this issue by making Narcan nasal spray easily accessible.