Recently, the Ross College Sylvania, Ohio campus was visited by Northwest Ohio Syringe Services. While there, they took the time to discuss the growing opioid epidemic in local area. They also talked about addiction, harm reduction, overdose prevention, and response. The staff, faculty, and students enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about the importance of resources in the area to help citizens battling addiction as well as their friends and families.
Courtney Stewart, the program’s social worker, explained the benefits of harm reduction and her role in assessing the patients’ using habitats, utilizing harm reduction strategies, assessing readiness for change, and referring patients to additional resources to help end their addiction. Lisa Hawthorne-Price is the program’s public health nurse, and she discussed her role, which includes offering a needle exchange program, additional safety tools to control the spread of diseases and infections, injection site evaluation, follow up care referrals, safer injection strategies, as well as STD testing, pregnancy testing, and vaccinations.
During their time at the campus, Ross students were trained in how to save an opioid overdose victim and administer the life-saving medication Narcan. The students were also offered the availability to volunteer at Northwest Ohio Syringe Services, or visit the clinics to pick up their own Narcan kit to carry in the event they should ever encounter an opioid overdose victim. The Northwest Ohio Syringe Services program is less than a year old, and in that time they have been able to distribute over 1250 Narcan kits to the public, which has resulted in saving 37 lives. There is great power and influence through education, and with this partnership Ross is working together with Northwest Ohio Syringe Services to help end the opioid epidemic! As future healthcare professionals, the students were very thankful for the opportunity to learn and receive the tools they need to help their patients and those in their community.