May 03, 2018 | Downers Grove, IL
Midwestern University's Chicago College of Pharmacy is preparing students to manage and respond to the national opioid crisis. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 116 people died every day from opioid-related overdoses in 2016. Community pharmacists are on the frontline to identify and assist patients who may be at risk of drug misuse, abuse, or overdose.
In order to address the crisis, the University has expanded the pharmacy curriculum to include additional coursework on the understanding of pain management, detecting opioid misuse, and developing treatments for overdose. In addition, students along with faculty mentors received a grant to prepare and deliver Naloxone training programs to campus personnel, students, and the community. Naloxone is a non-addictive, life-saving drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose when it's given in time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Nalox-Now training program at Midwestern University focuses on teaching individuals to recognize signs and symptoms of opioid overdose, administration of Naloxone to individuals in immediate crisis, and proper storage of the drug. Through these important initiatives, the faculty and students aim to prepare students to be at the forefront in combatting the opioid epidemic in Illinois.
"Nalox-Now provides faculty, students, and soon the general public with an additional tool to prevent deaths and help destigmatize opioid use disorder. This program is a valuable asset to our community. Having students spearhead this effort is a testament to the compassion and entrepreneurship that our students possess," said Dr. Tran.
The Nalox-Now program was developed under the leadership of third-year pharmacy student Jack Chang and faculty mentors Susan Cornell, Pharm.D., Associate Director of Experiential Education, and Tran Tran, Pharm.D., Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice at Midwestern University. Since its inception less than a year ago, Nalox-Now has successfully trained over 50 participants, increased access to naloxone kits on campus, and is expanding its training across all colleagues and to local community organizations.