Post Classifieds

Disagreeing over Narcan

By Erin Thomas
On November 1, 2018

Narcan {Photo via Creative Commons}

MCCC security officers still do not carry Narcan, a drug that reverses the life-threatening effects of opioids when administered during an overdose.
A story in the March 2018 issue of the Agora addressed the college’s handling of addiction on campus.
In that story, social worker Lynn Breeding, who runs a drug rehabilitation center in Monroe, said she cannot think of any reason why college officers should not carry Narcan, the trademarked name for naloxone.
“MCCC should definitely carry Narcan; it’s not just students anymore,” Breeding said. “Addiction is not age specific anymore, I think everybody should have access to Narcan. Every student and staff should be trained and have knowledge of how to use it.”
Monroe County sits on the front lines of the opiate crisis.
“Opiates and drugs are being done everywhere whether you want to admit it or not,” said Michigan State Trooper Don Stewart. “Whether you know it or not doesn’t change the validation that opiate addiction and drug abuse is everywhere.”
Psychology professor Melissa Grey is hoping an overdose prevention and Narcan application training session planned for Dec. 12 will bring about change.
The presentation by Unified, an organization based in southeast Michigan that provides access to health care, community research and advocacy, will be open to the public and free.
Though the problem is pervasive, President Kojo Quartey thinks the college is doing enough.
“I think as long as we are doing what we can to assist the general problem in the community then we are fine,” Quartey said. “I haven’t heard that this is a major problem on campus, so I think as things stand, we are fine on campus.”
Earlier this month, Breeding expressed her concern for MCCC’s decision, and said addicts often blend in.
“They show up in class, they are smiling and laughing because that’s what they have to do to get through class,” Breeding said. “Those are the students that hide, they don’t want you to see them.”
While Stewart has a front row seat for the severity of the crisis in Monroe, he thinks if MCCC is providing access to help, they are doing enough.
“They are an educational institution, not a rehabilitative institution,” Stewart said. “So, unless they want to get into the business of rehabilitation, then they are probably doing what they are required to do.”
Quartey said he is aware of several stories where faculty and students have been affected by the opiate crisis.
He agrees there is a problem, but says the problem lies in the community, not the campus.
“There is a problem that may not be directly affecting us, but it’s affecting us indirectly here on this campus because we are a part of this community,” Quartey said.
He said campus security officers are not allowed to carry Narcan – a medication used to reverse the effects of opioid overdose – due to liability issues.
 “While the police officers can carry it, I don’t think that our security are allowed to carry the Narcan and administer it,” Quartey said. “There are some liability issues with that when it comes to risk management.”
Breeding said if there is a problem with insurance, it might be easy to fix.
“Is it an insurance issue? It could be, but Narcan trainings are free and insurance covers Narcan,” Breeding said. “All you have to do is go to your family doctor and get a script.”
Though they currently have no plans to make any changes, Quartey said the college is working closely with professionals who understand addiction.
“We offer our facilities to the Monroe Substance Abuse Collation” Quartey said.
Vice President of Student and Information Systems Randy Daniels echoed the president’s sentiments.
“I concur that the opiate crisis is a national/community problem,” Daniels said. “To that end, I know that Dr. Quartey and Dr. (Joyce) Haver both serve on a communitywide task force designed to battle this issue.”
He said there are counselors on campus, though they can’t provide long-term care.
“We do have several licensed counselors on our campus that are trained for an urgent intervention,” Daniels said. “We do not provide long-term services.”
Quartey said if the college started to see a problem on campus, he and other administrators would find a way to get the students help.
“If all of the sudden here in our LAL, we find that we have two, three, four, five, or 10 students who come in and have this challenge, then we would find a remedy by perhaps bringing in some counseling service here on campus” Quartey said.
Daniels said another goal is to treat any acute issues, then take the person somewhere equipped to help them.
“It is our goal to mitigate the emergency/crisis and then refer for further professional help,” Daniels said. “We do have an agreement with Monroe County Mental Health for an immediate or urgent assessment.”
Quartey wants the community to know the college is trying its best to be supportive.
“We are doing all that we can to support those who are fighting against this opiate crisis here on campus,” Quartey says.
In the meantime, Breeding hopes the college will re-visit its stance on Narcan.
“We care about our students when we are prepared,” Breeding said.MCCC President Kojo Quartey thinks the college is doing enough.
“I think as long as we are doing what we can to assist the general problem in the community, then we are fine,” Quartey said. “I haven’t heard that this is a major problem on campus, so I think as things stand, we are fine on campus.”
Again in a recent interview, Breeding expressed her concern for MCCC’s decision, and said addicts often blend in.
“They show up in class, they are smiling and laughing because that’s what they have to do to get through class,” Breeding said. “Those are the students that hide, they don’t want you to see them.”
While Stewart has a front row seat for the severity of the crisis in Monroe, he thinks if MCCC is providing access to help, they are doing enough.
“They are an educational institution, not a rehabilitative institution,” Stewart said. “So, unless they want to get into the business of rehabilitation, then they are probably doing what they are required to do.”
Quartey said he is aware of several stories where faculty and students have been affected by the opiate crisis.
He agrees there is a problem, but says the problem lies in the community, not the campus.
“There is a problem that may not be directly affecting us, but it’s affecting us indirectly here on this campus because we are a part of this community,” Quartey said.
He said campus security officers are not allowed to carry Narcan – a medication used to reverse the effects of opioid overdose – due to liability issues.
 “While the police officers can carry it, I don’t think that our security are allowed to carry the Narcan and administer it,” Quartey said. “There are some liability issues with that when it comes to risk management.”
Breeding said if there is a problem with insurance, it might be easy to fix.
“Is it an insurance issue? It could be, but Narcan trainings are free and insurance covers Narcan,” Breeding said. “All you have to do is go to your family doctor and get a script.”
Though they currently have no plans to make any changes, Quartey said the college is working closely with professionals who understand addiction.
“We offer our facilities to the Monroe Substance Abuse Collation,” Quartey said.
Vice President of Student and Information Systems Randy Daniels echoed the president’s sentiments.
“I concur that the opiate crisis is a national/community problem,” Daniels said. “To that end, I know that Dr. Quartey and Dr. (Joyce) Haver both serve on a communitywide task force designed to battle this issue.”
He said there are counselors on campus, though they can’t provide long-term care.
“We do have several licensed counselors on our campus that are trained for an urgent intervention,” Daniels said. “We do not provide long-term services.”
Quartey said if the college started to see a problem on campus, he and other administrators would find a way to get the students help.
“If all of the sudden here in our LAL, we find that we have two, three, four, five, or 10 students who come in and have this challenge, then we would find a remedy by perhaps bringing in some counseling service here on campus,” Quartey said.
Daniels said another goal is to treat any acute issues, then take the person somewhere equipped to help them.
“It is our goal to mitigate the emergency/crisis and then refer for further professional help,” Daniels said.
“We do have an agreement with Monroe County Mental Health for an immediate or urgent assessment.”
Quartey wants the community to know the college is trying its best to be supportive.
“We are doing all that we can to support those who are fighting against this opiate crisis here on campus,” Quartey says.
In the meantime, Breeding hopes the college will re-visit its stance on Narcan.
“We care about our students when we are prepared,” Breeding said.

 

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