The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

Fentanyl crisis leads to preventative measures

The weekend comes around, students are partying, having fun and often using drugs and other substances. But hopefully they are taking into consideration certain dangers that they may face in doing so. But what about the ones that lie unnoticed? How do you look and watch out for something you can’t feel, see, smell, or taste?

There has been a rise of fentanyl overdoses in the United States. It is a drug chosen to be used but is also being used to lace other drugs, resulting in unwanted deaths and homicides. No matter how you choose to party, it is time to become more aware of what is going into your body.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, sometimes prescribed by a doctor. Known to relieve pain and bring pleasure to the brain, opioids are very addicting, range in strength and can quickly become lethal. Illegally manufactured fentanyl is often found in counterfeit pills made to resemble prescription drugs, such as but not limited to, pain relievers, methamphetamine, heroin and even adderall.

In a college town like Rohnert Park, students and many others are surrounded by different substances. It’s each person’s responsibility to make sure that if they are using something, it comes from a safe source.

When people are looking for the easiest way to obtain drugs are they ever checking for traces of fentanyl? Drug dealers are usually trusted by the people they supply, and although trust is very important, it is so easy to get ahold of something that may not be safe.

Eddy Garcia, mathematics major at SSU said although he doesn’t use anything that may contain fentanyl, he wouldn’t really think to check for it.

“I wouldn’t be aware, especially if it’s at a party I’m not familiar with. I may do research on what I’m supposed to look for, but right now it’s a blind test for me,” said Garcia

There are fentanyl testing strips which can be used to reduce the risk of fentanyl overdose. If it can prevent students from accidentally using something laced, perhaps it’s  now necessary for college campuses to provide free fentanyl testing strips. This could save the lives of many, even prevent the use in the first place.

“I believe that Sonoma State could provide more education to faculty and students about the dangers of fentanyl exposure. My advice to my fellow students would be to be vigilant and to not accept substances if you don’t know what’s in it. Test kits are cheap and could potentially save your life,” said Addison Stewart, second year psychology major at SSU.

Many students share the same feelings that SSU could do a better job distributing information to its community.

Emily Montiel Peregrina, fifth year political science major said she believes that “something Sonoma State could start implementing is mandatory trainings, kind of how they make Title IX trainings mandatory.”

In a timely warning put out on Oct. 27, 2022 by Sonoma State University Police Chief, Nader Oweis and Dean of Students, Dr. Ryan Jasen Henne, they announced that the Drug Enforcement Administration found there to be “new colorful forms of illicit fentanyl.” These new forms seem to resemble candy like Skittles and Fruit Loops.

If fentanyl can be hidden in something like halloween candy, it is affecting more than just those that use opioids. It becomes a concern for families with children.

In 2019, SSU freshman Trevor Leopold died in his dorm due to an accidental overdose from fentanyl. A situation like this could happen to anyone.

Sonoma State Police are now equipped with Narcan to distribute to someone if they feel they have overdosed. This training and education needs to reach students. Even just knowledge on the warning signs of an overdose. Overdoses aren’t something someone experiences everyday, therefore may not know how to act or what to do if it does happen.

According to Mo Phillips, director of student involvement at Sonoma State University, SSU has future plans for informing its students about the dangers of fentanyl.

“We are currently planning for the Noma Nation Orientation Program in August. There will be at least one session during orientation for students to hear more about this topic, what to look out for and training on the use of/importance of Naloxone,” said Phillips

The CDC says Naloxone (or Narcan) reverses an overdose by blocking the effects of opioids. It can restore normal breathing within two to three minutes if a person has overdosed. Naloxone won’t harm someone if they’re overdosing on drugs other than opioids, so it’s always best to use it if you think someone is overdosing.

Fentanyl can affect anyone unfortunately. Students need to be careful of what, where, and how they use substances. Safety teams and other authorities should also become aware and provide support and resources to the community. Doing something as small as reading an informative article on fentanyl could help save somebody’s life as well as your own.

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