MARQUETTE– Tuesday President Trump pledged to fight the opioid crisis. For this week’s ABC10 feature Lauren Lee sat down with one local university to talk about efforts on campus to battle the epidemic.
“We did an alcohol and drug survey of our students two years ago and that’s anonymous, asking students what their habits are and what their experience is,” NMU spokesperson Derek Hall said. “We encourage them to share that information with us so we can help our student body. We asked about opioids and there were a very small amount of students who said they had experience with that.”
Northern Michigan University offers an array of services for students battling addiction and seeking counseling. All students are given a counseling and consultation pocket handbook referencing on campus counseling, various hotlines, and how to text live on campus counselors for help.
According to Hall a major role in fighting any substance on campus are residence advisers.
“We have resident advisers who are trained to notice things, their job is to live among the students and they are there to notice if the students are having issues,” Hall said. “That’s very very important; those students are front line for us with the student body. They’re here on campus right now getting trained.”
Students begin to move into their dorms in two weeks. Colleges across the nation are reaching out to parents and student addressing the opioid epidemic from emails to sober dorms- specifically meant for students battling addiction. Unless something is reported on campus it is completely up to the student to inform the university they are battling a problem.
According Hall NMU uses orientation as a major platform to reach family and students.
“We talk about students getting away from home for the first time and experiencing new things. We really try to emphasize; health, wellness, being smart, knowing your resources and getting help if help is needed,” Hall said.
NMU only accounts for incidents that occur on campus or adjacent streets to campus. The 2015 annual Cleary report, states 24 drug laws were violated.
According to Hall majority of the drug issues on campus are related to Marijuana.
But federal law does not require universities in the report to distinguish the type of drugs or even report drug deaths unless they are deemed criminal. Some universities around the U.S. have naxolone available at dorm hall front desks. The life saving medicine is a nasal spray or shot used to reverse the effects of an overdose from heroin and some types of painkillers.
I asked Hall if the university is nervous of the opioids spreading across campus?
“I didn’t catch that nervousness any kind of substance abuse for us relating to our students and our employees really is of concern definitely and that’s why we provide a lot of services.