The opioid epidemic is largely bypassing U.S. colleges, according to Inside Higher Ed. The crisis disproportionately affects poorer, more rural and less educated communities, the article notes.
Although the crisis has not hit campuses hard, the American College Health Association released a set of guidelines in 2016 on preventing and treating opioid misuse. “We do believe that there is probably more abuse on campus than we are aware of,” said Jessica Higgs, Director of Health Services at Bradley University, who chaired the task force that produced the recommendations.
The guideline report said between 7 and 12 percent of college students reported using opioids for nonmedical reasons, while 2 to 3 percent reported moving from using prescription opioids to heroin. The group recommended that college prescribers give opioids very sparingly, and only if benefits outweigh risks. They encouraged colleges to train employees to treat overdoses and distribute the opioid-overdose antidote naloxone.
Safeguard Against Medicine Abuse
It’s up to all of us to take action against medicine abuse. The best place to start is within your own home by ensuring that you’re aware of the medication in your home as well as by talking with your kids and family about the dangers of medicine abuse.