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Proactive Overdose Prevention on Campus: Lessons from The University of Texas at Austin

Health, Safety, and Well-being Alcohol and Other Drug
Lucas Hill

Student and community advocacy led The University of Texas at Austin to develop a collaborative approach to overdose prevention, including stocking naloxone (sometimes referred to as NARCAN) in residence halls. Learn how this came to fruition at a large, public institution.

Drug overdose has been the fastest growing cause of death in the U.S. since 2000. Opioids (e.g. painkillers and heroin) contribute to the majority of these deaths. Individuals aged 18-25 are far more likely than other age groups to have misused a prescription drug in the past year, used an illicit drug in the past month, and used heroin in the past month. Despite this concerning risk to students, proactive overdose prevention policies remain remarkably rare on campuses across the U.S. Naloxone is a strong opioid blocker that can be given to someone who is experiencing an opioid overdose to save their life. It is not a controlled substance and cannot be abused/misused. All 50 U.S. states have passed naloxone access laws that decrease barriers to obtaining naloxone and protect overdose responders from liability.

The University of Texas at Austin has cultivated a proactive, recovery-oriented campus environment that is prepared for potential opioid overdoses. In 2016, Wellness Network Committee on Substance Safety and Overdose Prevention was convened with diverse partners including University Health Services, the College of Pharmacy, the School of Social Work, Residence Life, the Counseling and Mental Health Center, and the Center for Students in Recovery. Based on the work of this committee, a standing order for naloxone was implemented in the campus pharmacy, campus police were trained to respond to overdoses and equipped with naloxone, naloxone was stocked in residence halls to ensure appropriate access for overdose responders, and every resident advisor received overdose response training. In this live briefing, faculty leaders from The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy and School of Social Work will discuss their experience implementing proactive overdose prevention strategies on campus.

Learning Outcomes

As a result of participating in this live briefing, participants will be able to:

  • recognize the risk for overdose death among college students;
  • discuss the role of naloxone in overdose prevention efforts;
  • describe the overdose prevention model at The University of Texas at Austin; and
  • plan for implementation of proactive overdose prevention policies on campus.
Course Length
Course Type
On Demand

Register Online