Narcan kits placed in East and West Campus dorms to prevent effects of drug overdoses

Duke recently installed ONEbox emergency kits, each equipped with two doses of the opioid overdose reversal drug Narcan, across residential facilities on both East and West campuses in a new initiative focused on improving student safety. 

Narcan, the brand name for the opioid overdose reversal medication naloxone, can be administered in critical situations in response to signs of a potential overdose, such as unresponsiveness, abnormal breathing and discoloration. It also poses no harm if mistakenly administered to someone who is not overdosing.

“There has been a nationwide increase in the presence of fentanyl in various substances, and it is possible students could come into contact with this substance unintentionally, exposing them to the risk of potential overdose, even without intentional opioid use,” wrote Associate Director of DuWell Sara Campbell in an email to The Chronicle. 

Following “consultations with students and campus stakeholders,” 40 ONEbox emergency kits have been strategically placed in East and West Campus dorms, each clearly marked with signs for easy identification, Campbell wrote.

The change comes less than a year after University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill first-year Elizabeth Grace Burton fatally overdosed on cocaine laced with fentanyl in a Kilgo dorm.

These kits contain two doses of Narcan, a face shield, gloves, wipes and a quick instructional video, available in both English and Spanish. Once someone pulls the green tie that seals the ONEbox, the video begins within three seconds, providing quick guidance on administering Narcan. The kit also includes written instructions. 

Campbell emphasized that students should call the Duke University Police Department at (919) 684-2444 or 911 while using an ONEbox kit. 

The dispensers will undergo weekly checks to ensure their seals remain intact and monthly inspections to confirm the presence and effectiveness of Narcan, according to junior Eddie Scott, member and founder of Duke Overdose Prevention Efforts. This maintenance will ensure the readiness of the emergency kits when needed.

Despite the importance of Narcan, barriers currently exist on campus that limit its distribution. As the only FDA-approved over-the-counter drug containing naloxone, it can be difficult to distribute the medication for free. 

“The over-the-counter dosage is $40 per dose, which can start to add up when you’re looking at 7,000 undergraduates at Duke,” Scott explained.

DOPE and DuWell aim to make Narcan more accessible to students through initiatives such as the ONEbox installations. 

Individual students can obtain prescription naloxone at the Duke Pharmacy with most insurance plans, including Duke's student insurance, but prescription naloxone cannot be given to people to whom it was not prescribed, according to Scott.

DOPE is working on launching a social media campaign to educate the student body about Narcan, its usage and where to obtain it. Additionally, the organization hopes to conduct Quad trainings, providing quick Narcan sessions to students and distributing doses. Trained students would then be able to put “Narcan trained” stickers on their doors to be identifiable in case of an emergency.

“The goal would be to have a significant chunk of people on campus have Narcan in their room or in their possession that would be comfortable in an emergency situation,” Scott said.

DuWell plans to continue to increase awareness and help educate student groups on “substance misuse prevention, harm reduction, and a variety of topics to improve health and well-being for our students,” Campbell wrote.

Students are encouraged to engage with DuWell or visit the Student Wellness Campus Center pharmacy for any questions related to substance misuse prevention and harm reduction.

Lara Kendall

Lara Kendall is a Trinity first-year and a staff reporter for the news department.   


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