To promote safe drug use and reduce the number of overdose victims – whether due to opioid use or general mixing of prescription drugs and other controlled substances – the University of Arizona Health Sciences will host a two-for-one free pilot public event on Monday, March 2, in its Health Sciences Innovation Building.
The two-part event will offer training for opioid overdose crisis response, both to the general public and health sciences students, in a presentation called “Drug Survival 102,” as well as provide UArizona Health Sciences interprofessional education (IPE) certification training to the health sciences students. One of the Health Sciences strategic initiatives focuses on the opioid epidemic and promoting advanced research and novel therapies and programs to address pain and addiction.
“This drug survival interprofessional exercise on the opioid epidemic brings together the campus community to introduce them to real-time understanding of the opioid epidemic and the community response, to expose them to risk-reduction methodology and practice, to introduce drug-testing strategies, to train in the administration of naloxone for the purpose of overdose reversal, and to discuss college-age and other real-life scenarios as well as the varied reactions that might occur,” said Margie Arnett, education specialist at the UArizona Center for Interprofessional Transformative Healthcare.
“Students from the Colleges of Medicine (Tucson and Phoenix), Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health and others from the main campus will be in attendance. Health-care students from other Arizona universities have also been invited to the Phoenix Campus to participate there via livestreaming,” she added.
Outreach for the collaboration was spearheaded by Kaye Godbey, Campus Health project coordinator for Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD)/Poly-Substance Misuse and Abuse Prevention. She has worked closely with Greek Life and Housing & Residential Life to encourage students to be better prepared to prevent mishaps during spring break, March 9-13.
Arnett said 200 people are preregistered for the IPE certification training and panel discussion. Certification training is scheduled from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on the third floor of HSIB. About 50 more participants are anticipated at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus. Richard H. Carmona, MD, MPH, caps the IPE event with closing remarks underscored by his experience as the 17th U.S. Surgeon General at the outset of the opioid epidemic. Dr. Carmona is a Distinguished Professor at the UArizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, with dual appointments in the College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy Practice-Science and College of Medicine – Tucson, Department of Surgery.
Godbey said the purpose of showing all participants how to administer naloxone and providing free samples (courtesy of Sonoran Prevention Works, a Tucson and Phoenix community advocate for those affected by drug use) is not to encourage drug use or misuse.
“Rather, by sharing strategies for reducing risk and clarifying what risks exist, we are more likely to empower students to reduce their risks and support and guide peers who use or misuse drugs and alcohol and, ultimately, prepare them if they or someone they know has an overdose through intentional or incidental interaction with alcohol, fentanyl or other opiate analogs,” she added.
Drug Survival 102 speakers/panelists include:
- Lt. Christian Wildblood, Tucson Police Department, Special Investigations Section
- Mark Person, program manager, Pima County Health Department
- Sgt. Ericka Stropka, Tucson Police Department, Mental Health Support Unit and Substance Use Resource Team
- Jacob Robishaw-Denton, deputy chief of operations, UArizona Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
- Brittany Wright, continuous quality improvement officer and 911 response supervisor, UArizona EMS
- Jesus Aguilar, public information officer and crime prevention specialist, UArizona Police Department
- Christopher Thomas, Southern Arizona overdose prevention coordinator, Sonoran Prevention Works, Tucson
- Theodore “Ted” Tong, PharmD, the R. Ken Coit Endowed Chair and professor, UArizona College of Pharmacy.
Dr. Tong will serve as the trainer for the IPE certification training, followed by Dr. Carmona as closing keynote speaker.
NOTE: Photos available upon request.
About the University of Arizona Health Sciences
The University of Arizona Health Sciences is the statewide leader in biomedical research and health professions training. UArizona Health Sciences includes the Colleges of Medicine (Tucson and Phoenix), Nursing, Pharmacy, and the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, with main campus locations in Tucson and the Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix. From these vantage points, Health Sciences reaches across the state of Arizona, the greater Southwest and around the world to provide next-generation education, research and outreach. A major economic engine, Health Sciences employs nearly 5,000 people, has approximately 4,000 students and 900 faculty members, and garners $200 million in research grants and contracts annually. For more information: uahs.arizona.edu (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn | Instagram).