Taking doses of Narcan from the overdose emergency boxes on campus without telling Community Safety may cost someone their life. That’s a harsh and jarring statement–and it is true. Community Safety collaborates with Reed’s Health & Counseling Center (HCC) to provide two doses of Narcan nasal spray to every residence hall on campus, as well as nearly every other building with shared spaces. Every week CSOs check the boxes to ensure that they have the life-saving drug so that if there is ever an overdose emergency involving opiates, there will be enough Narcan immediately available to hopefully save someone by keeping them alive long enough for emergency responders to arrive. And nearly every time CSOs check, there are doses missing. Taking Narcan out of an emergency box and walking away without letting us know is not much different than walking off with a fire extinguisher or an AED: if there is an emergency and someone needs the life-saving item, it will not be there and someone may die. Let me be clear: this is not about the money. We have nearly 100 doses on-hand for the emergency boxes, CSO first aid kits, and replacement supplies and my budget supports replacements. What cannot be bought is the ability to help someone if the doses are missing. If you use a dose from a box because of an overdose, CSO’s and EMS must be called to ensure that the person does not fall back into an overdose condition because Narcan wears off faster than many opiates. If you need a dose “just in case” and you can’t get one any other way, please, PLEASE call Dispatch (or have someone else do it) and simply say, “Hey, I just noticed that the box in [fill in the blank location] is missing some Narcan.” You can hang up after that. We will replace what’s missing so that no one goes to that box–including a CSO–thinking they will find the Narcan, only to find it missing. And, if you can plan ahead a bit, the HCC has harm reduction information for obtaining Narcan/Naloxone.
It’s not about the money: it’s about responsible harm reduction that doesn’t put others at risk.
Thank you. Gary Granger, Reed College Community Safety Director