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The Pawprint | ENHS

The Pawprint | ENHS

The Pawprint | ENHS

Edmond North Healthcare Activists Take on Overdose

Photo Taken January 10

Every year, thousands of lives are lost to the tragedy of drug overdose, the most common killer being opioids such as morphine, oxycontin and fentanyl. In fact, 106,000 Americans lost their lives to these drugs in 2021 alone.

For many years, this issue has been worsening at an alarming rate; however, one local group of students is working to curb this crisis.

Empowered by Francis Tuttle Technology Center, these six activists work week after week to push awareness and education on life-saving overdose medication; they do this as part of their Healthcare Occupational Students of America project.

Their subject? NARCAN.

According to their project pitch, NARCAN—generically known as naloxone—is “a fast-acting, completely harmless and non-addictive medication that can block opioid receptors and cancel the effects of an overdose for up to 90 minutes.” This emergency tool, costing only $20 on average, has been in use for decades, saving the lives of countless victims of opioids in dire situations.

Detailing the group’s inspiration, State HOSA President Maira Arshad stated that their advisor, Mrs. Bowman, “presented the problem at the start of the school year and was adamant about how we could create a solution.” Arshad claims that the group “immediately wanted to put their hearts into the project.”

One of their largest contentions, which they stress in every presentation and outreach attempt, is the fact that overdose does not solely affect people experiencing addiction. They argue that a large number of fatalities are from accidental misdosages of prescribed painkillers or anesthetics.

“Our biggest goal is helping individuals to understand that NARCAN awareness doesn’t only help drug abusers; . . accessible NARCAN can save a life whether the victim was abusing or not,” said Arshad.

Despite its apparent positive effects, there are many opinions out there that assert NARCAN to be an encouragement to pursue opioid abuse, claiming that NARCAN is used as a ‘get-out-of-jail-free card’ by abusers. 

This HOSA community awareness team could not disagree more.

According to a study relating NARCAN awareness to likelihood of relapse, knowledge of naloxone treatment did not produce an increase in opioid usage among those experiencing addiction. The local team reasserts that the evidence contradicts stigmatizing beliefs that naloxone abundance perpetuates overdoses.

The awareness group, attempting to reach a larger audience among other students, have launched an Instagram account dedicated to promoting NARCAN education and accessibility online. 

Hazel Silvestre-Diaz, another leader, details, “we’ve made an impact in our community, but we definitely didn’t want to stop there.”

The account (@awareness.hosa) can be found here.

Arshad ultimately revealed that she hopes everyone would “educate themselves on NARCAN and how to administer it. . .it could save someone’s life.”

To reach out to the awareness group for questions or concerns, please contact any of the organizers listed:

Maira Arshad – [email protected]

Hazel Silvestre-Diaz – [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Ethan Leehan
Ethan Leehan, Senior Editor
Ethan Leehan is a senior at Edmond North as well as at Francis Tuttle Bioscience and Medicine Academy. He enjoys baking, cooking, science and writing. Ethan plans to attend university under a Biochemistry and Linguistic Anthropology double major.

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