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The Eastern Echo Saturday, May 25, 2024 | Print Archive
The Eastern Echo

AED Student Center 2

Eastern Michigan University launches new Narcan Program

Eastern Michigan University has announced the implementation of its new Narcan Program, which aims to make Narcan more easily accessible to the campus community.

Narcan is a medication known for its use in reversing an opioid overdose, with the generic name of the medication being naloxone.

This program provides community members the opportunity to partake in a training program focused on how to administer the nasal spray version of the medication. Those who complete the training will receive two doses of the medication. Two doses are also available to individuals who do not participate in the training.

"We made it available for all the right reasons," Matthew Lige, Chief of Police and Executive Director of Public Safety at Eastern Michigan University said. "That commitment to harm reduction and providing a safe environment for students and staff is the cornerstone of what Public Safety is here for."

The University has announced four training sessions so far, with the next session occurring on April 10. Trainings are offered through the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, and each training session is led by faculty members who have volunteered to become trainers.

During the sessions, trainees will learn how to administer the medication into the nasal cavity and learn about the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose. Each session has a capacity of 15 trainees.

"The hope of the program is that we do not have an opioid overdose on this campus that results in serious physical harm or death," Lige said.

AED Student Center 3

An AED cabinet is stored in Eastern Michigan University's Student Center.

In addition to the training and providing of the medication, Narcan is available in all automatic external defibrillator (AED) cabinets on campus. At least one AED cabinet is located in every campus building.

When a cabinet is opened, an alert is sent to the Department of Public Safety's 24-hour communication center. This notifies first responders to come to the cabinet's location, and it also activates the camera closest to the cabinet.

The idea for establishing such a program was first introduced in the fall of 2023.

The Department of Public Safety met with the Provost's Office and a faculty member from the University's nursing program. The meeting consisted of discussing what the University could do in response to the current opioid epidemic.

"The easiest part of the creation of the program was deciding that we needed to do something," Lige said. "The more challenging part became what do we do and what does it look like."

Three questions arose during the initial meeting, including who would cover the cost, how Narcan would be made available, and how the program would be advertised.

After three to four months of answering these questions, and with the support of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services donating several dozen doses of Narcan, the program was officially announced to the campus community on March 25.

"If we need to realign the program, if we need to target groups, if having it available in the AED cabinet does not suffice, we will meet on a regular basis and adjust the programming to meet the needs of our community," Lige said.

Registration is required to partake in a training session. The two doses of Narcan that are available without completing the training can be received from the Department of Public Safety, which is located on Eastern's campus.