Allentown, PA - Today, Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) Secretary Jennifer Smith joined community members and local officials at Muhlenberg College to kick off campus-wide opioid prevention projects.
Muhlenberg College was recently awarded $100,000 in federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant funding administered by DDAP. The college was one of 13 higher education institutions chosen to implement and expand projects aiding in the prevention and reduction of opioid usage by college students and to create naloxone training opportunities for students, faculty, and staff.
“I am thrilled to join faculty, students, and local Lehigh County officials at Muhlenberg College to kick off their innovative opioid prevention projects,” said Secretary Smith. “We have learned from the opioid crisis that substance use disorder does not discriminate and one of our hardest hit demographics are traditionally college-aged Pennsylvanians age 18-30. This funding will allow the college to proactively address the opioid crisis and provide a healthier, happier experience for its students, faculty, and staff.”
Muhlenberg College will use its funding to launch numerous opioid prevention programs including individualized trainings for students, parents, coaches, faculty, and staff to remedy common misconceptions about the use and misuse of opioids and early detection signs of opioid use disorder. As well as, provide trainings on how to administer naloxone through an effort developed by Muhlenberg College called End Overdose Together that draws on student champions to provide training on overdose recognition and naloxone to emergency personnel at the college.
“Muhlenberg College and End Overdose Together are committed to ensuring that families are aware, able, and ready to respond with Narcan when confronted by an opioid overdose,” said End Overdose Together Founder and Executive Director Kevan Shah. “Thanks to the leadership of Governor Wolf and Secretary Smith we will be able to do exactly that.”
Additionally, Muhlenberg College will be developing a campus-community collaboration in partnership with stakeholders in the Lehigh Valley. The college plans to expand and implement preventative initiatives through a taskforce comprised of representation from all colleges in the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges.
During Governor Tom Wolf’s second term, DDAP will place a heavy focus on reducing stigma associated with substance use disorder, intensifying primary prevention efforts, strengthening treatment systems, and empowering sustained recovery. The higher education institution grant project is the first of many steps the administration will be taking in strengthening prevention and awareness for adolescents across the commonwealth. The aim of these efforts will be to positively influence the knowledge and behavior around the topic of addiction.
For more information about the work the Wolf Administration is doing to combat the opioid crisis, visit pa.gov/opioids.
MEDIA CONTACT: Rachel Kostelac - 717.547.3314
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