POCATELLO- Public Safety officers at Idaho State University now have the proper training to deliver emergency overdose medication thanks to Generation Rx, a group led by College of Pharmacy students whose goal is to prevent the misuse of prescription medications.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, opioid abuse is a serious public health issue and drug overdose is the leading cause of injury death in the United States. College of Pharmacy student Kayla Brawley says her research on the handling and administration of naloxone, a medication used to counter the effects of an opioid overdose, brought to light the need for training among law enforcement agencies in Idaho.
“Providing proper training raises awareness about the increase in opioid overdoses in Idaho and gives officers a chance to become comfortable with handling and administering of the intranasal naloxone product,” Brawley said. “Overall, I believe that equipping public safety officers with naloxone and appropriate training can save lives.”
Brawley began working with her Generation Rx classmates, Erin Quigg, Kryston Carling and Heather Walser, to research the issue, devise tests and create a presentation detailing the use of naloxone for public safety officials. The manufacturer of the naloxone nasal spray, Narcan, also sent the students test devices to be used in their demonstrations. The students gave their first training presentation to ISU Public Safety officers on March 9 and said it was well received.
The student pharmacists now hope to expand this training in the near future to educate other local law enforcement agencies, resident assistants in dorms and even high school officials. In rural areas of Idaho, law enforcement officers are often the first on the scene, and training like this could mean the difference between life and death. For now, results are already being felt at ISU through additional peace of mind.
“I feel like this training makes the campus an even safer place to be.” said Kryston Carling, ISU pharmacy student. “Accidental opioid overdose can happen to anyone, even if a person is taking pain medication responsibly under a doctor’s supervision. Public safety now has the resources to actually save a life. I think that’s pretty powerful.”