By Sumaiya Nasir | February 3, 2022
Photo Credit: Collegiate Recovery Program
The university will be holding its first Overdose Awareness Week to increase student and faculty awareness on fentanyl-laced drugs and destigmatize addiction.
The event is being held by the university’s Collegiate Recovery Program, an extension of the Center for Behavioral Health Promotion and Applied Research (CBHPAR).
The national rise in fentanyl-laced and counterfeit pills is making its way to Albany. According to a statement put out by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in September, there is a high probability of fentanyl-laced pills circulating in New York State. It is estimated that 89% of overdose deaths in Albany last year are linked to fentanyl, according to an article by the Times Union.
The goal of the event is meant to increase student awareness about fentanyl-laced drugs and overdose by providing students with facts so that they can create informed decisions in the future.
“Addiction is often silenced – due to stigma and shame,” said Dr. Laura Longo, Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Preventionist, and licensed psychologist who leads UAlbany’s Collegiate Recovery Program. “We want to normalize conversations about substance use, which is just one part of someone’s mental health, so that people can learn that they’re not alone, and so that they are aware of resources available to them if that is something they are interested in.”
The event will take place over the course of Feb. 7 through Feb. 11, and each day will address a different issue. On Monday, the program will be hosting “testing your supply” in which students will learn more about fentanyl-laced substances and how to identify such drugs with fentanyl testing strips. The program will also offer a free online training on identifying the risk factors of addiction as well as ways to help those struggling with an addiction. On Tuesday, in collaboration with Middle Earth, the program will address the risks of combining alcohol with other harmful substances.
New York State’s Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) will provide Naloxone training, a drug that can reverse an overdose, on Wednesday, and participants will receive free Naloxone kits. Thursday will close the event with CPR training with UAlbany’s Five Quad. Times and locations of each event vary and are listed on the flier.