The opioid epidemic is growing worse in the U.S., and a new 501(c)3 organization, Students for Opioid Solutions is trying to solve this issue, specifically focusing on how to prevent opioid deaths on college campuses. Their vision “is to reduce the number of opioid deaths on college campuses to zero.”
Gerald Fraas, the founder and president of Students for Opioid Solutions started this organization in 2017 after one of his best friends died because of an opioid overdose. He said, “Last year, I received horrible news in a simple text message. One of my closest friends had passed away due to an opioid overdose. Neither his roommate nor his residential adviser were able to recognize the symptoms. He had been a victim of his own actions and a crippling addiction, but also a victim of a lack of knowledge and preparation about an issue affecting millions of Americans.”
In 2015, there were 33,091 opioid deaths in the United States, a 23% increase from the previous year, and 1,850 Americans between the ages 15-24 died from a heroin or methadone overdose. This is why Students for Opioid Solutions is specifically focusing on passing legislation on college campuses to help prevent opioid deaths.
Students for Opioid Solutions advocates for five policies to be implemented on college campuses across the country. As outlined in their mission, they are to:
“1) Requir[e] that campus police and residential staff receiving training in the recognition of an opioid overdose
2) Require that campus police and residential staff carry Narcan – the antidote for an opioid overdose
3) Require that school record and report the number of opioid overdoses and deaths in their annual drug and alcohol report.”
4) Enact an amnesty policy that will protect students from legal ramifications should they report an opioid overdose.
5) Enact a good Samaritan clause protecting students who come to the aid of someone suffering from an opioid overdose.”
Students for Opioid Solutions works with student senators on college campuses in 33 states across the country to pass legislation to help prevent opioid deaths. They also have 62 Campus Captains who are responsible for proposing legislation to student senators on their campus. They also host training on campus.