BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) — Roger Williams University is doubling up its life-saving efforts by adding naloxone kits around its Bristol campus.
The nasal spray, also known by the brand name Narcan, reverses the effects of an overdose before it becomes fatal and has become an important tool amid the opioid crisis.
Campus safety officers already carry Narcan at all times but come January, it will also be available in all automatic external defibrillator (AED) boxes around campus.
“We’re taking it out of the hands of just the first responders and putting it in the hands of every individual,” Donna Darmody, RWU’s Director of Health and Wellness Education, said Thursday.
The initiative was championed by two student organizations: the Criminal Justice Society and the Health and Wellness Educators Association.
“The school itself doesn’t have an opiate problem, we’re just trying to be proactive,” criminal justice student Kayla Elliott said. “I think as a society, as a whole, a lot of people are being affected by it.”
Students and staff members will also be given the chance to train on how to use Narcan on January 22, before RWU’s second semester gets underway.
“Not necessarily because they may need the training on campus, but if you are trained on campus, your training goes with you wherever you may go,” health and wellness education student Jake Amendola said.
Steven Melaragno, RWU’s director of public safety, said campus officers have only had to use the medication once since they started carrying it a year and a half ago, and that was on a non-student.
Having the spray around campus could be crucial at a time when every second counts, according to Melaragno.
“Just so that there would be maybe a first dose available a minute before we could get there,” he said. “Like CPR or first aid training, you hope you never need it but if you do, you are prepared to help someone.”