SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — As the amount of drug overdoses continues to climb, local college educators are trying something different. They’re putting first aid kits for drug overdoses on campus.
For J.J. Peck, a Peer Recovery Support Coordinator at Clark State College, the 'Nalox boxes' or opioid rescue kits are what he says could save people on campus. The kits have everything you need to revive someone who’s overdosed, including the overdose reversal drug Naloxone/Narcan.
“We just wanna make sure that if somebody were to overdose that they have access to Nalox box,” said Peck.
There are four throughout the Springfield campus located right next to the first aid and defibrillator kits. He’d been pushing to get the opioid rescue kits put in for months because he says he wants to help someone who was like him.
“I grew up with a compromised history, my mother was on drugs, my father was on drugs, they both suffered from mental illness, and I just wanted to basically get my life back and I grew up as a child who didn’t have a family so basically the streets raised me,” said Peck.
He said his troubled past is how he met Johnny Lemen, a former officer who worked the streets.
Lemen said many times overdoses were under-reported.
“When an officer arrives to an opioid overdose, many times they may just say it’s a medical problem and medics will arrive on the scene and there’s no tracking of that overdose,” said Lemen.
Lemen is now the Emergency Management Director at Clark State. He said based on the numbers they do know, overdoses are getting worse among those who are college age.
“Before we started this there was a 35% increase between the ages of 21 and 26 is what was reported by the health department in Clark County,” said Lemen.
Lemen says none of those cases happened on campus, but they’re trying to be prepared. It’s the reason he’s now joined Peck in getting opioid rescue kits on campus, educating students about its use, and trying to prevent another overdose.
“You never know at anytime someone could fall under an overdose, so it’s just good to have,” said Peck.
Program organizers say students can also take the Naloxone with them to keep or request it from the college in case of an emergency.