AUSTIN (KXAN) — Drug use happens at universities across the nation, but experts say now is not the time to experiment.
“They are just unfortunately doing so in a very dangerous time in the drug market,” said Claire Zagorski, director of the PhARM Program at the University of Texas at Austin.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2019 the average age of overdose deaths was about 22 years old.
Synthetic opioids like fentanyl are causing overdose deaths at an alarming rate, and UT is giving students tools to save lives.
“No we are not hearing about a lot of confirmed reports among students at UT, but we do hear about a handful of them, and the reality is we are most certainly seeing more than we are hearing about,” said Zagorski.
Zagorski says the little data they have on overdoses on campus might not be showing the full picture but having access to life saving resources like Naloxone can help.
“Naloxone is a fantastic medicine,” Zagorski said. “It is the antidote to opioid overdose.”
Initially, Naloxone was put into residence halls, but now it has expanded into the Perry‑Castañeda Library on campus with plans to continue adding doses to other locations as well.
“Putting it in the PCL obviously puts it into more people’s pockets,” said Kami Johnston, student director of Operation Naloxone. “What Operation Naloxone does in the school of pharmacy is we hold campus-wide trainings. So we train people how to recognize an opioid overdose, how to respond to it, how to use Naloxone.”
Education and awareness is key in fighting back and saving lives.