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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Making Narcan Accessible: SMU Senate’s Prevent and Protect Project

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Mikaila Neverson
Dr. Lee Spencer (left) and Cynthia Pursley (right) speaking at the the Prevent and Protect Project kickoff, Dallas Texas, Wednesday January 31, 2024 (©2024/Mikaila Neverson/SMU)

SMU student Senate’s Prevent and Protect Project kicked off its first meeting Wednesday evening with a panel of substance abuse experts to inform students about the risks of using drugs and what to do to mitigate accidental overdoses on campus.

The Texas Legislature passed a bill on June 17, 2023, to have the opioid antagonist available on college campuses. Universities such as Baylor and the University of Texas at Austin have made both the drug and training available to students in cases of an emergency. Now, the SMU Student Senate is finding a way to do the same.

Substance abuse is a regular occurrence on an increasing number of college campuses. SMU senior Anjali Gonuguntla, the organization’s president, said she’s heard of students at SMU taking substances to get through finals week.

“The mission for this project is to educate the SMU student body on the dangers of substance abuse and how we as a community can support each other and keep each other safe,” Gonuguntla shared.

Gonuguntla explained that The Prevent and Protect Project began initially as Senate’s effort to get Narcan on campus, but as Senate members did further research, they discovered the majority of the student body is misinformed on the issues of substance abuse and signs of misuse of overdose.

Medical Director of the Addiction Intensive Outpatient Program and Psychiatrist, Dr. Lee Spencer, Cynthia Pursley, Founder and CEO of Livegy, and Dallas Fire Department Paramedic of 25 years, Jarrod Gilstrap also spoke on the panel.

Fentanyl is the number one killer for people between the ages of 18 to 45, Pursley said before sharing a personal experience related to this statistic.

“I did lose my stepson two years ago to a fentanyl overdose in San Francisco [and] I woke up one day and said we have to do something,” Pursley explained.

A short film by the Safe Communities Coalition titled “The Fentanyl Factor” was shown to help paint the grim picture of overdose and help educate attendees about the reality of the danger of fentanyl.

Dr. Spencer explained that most of the SMU students he sees are users of Xanax, Adderall, and cocaine but implored us to be careful as the drugs are being passed around on campus because those drugs are often laced with fentanyl.

“I’m sad because you guys have a lot to go through. When I was a teenager, you’d take a sip of beer, laugh, and think you were drunk but you were just experimenting. You guys experiment and you’re dead…don’t take a pill if you don’t know where it came from.”
The Prevent and Protect Project hopes to educate the student body and make Narcan readily available on campus for every student in the event of a drug–related emergency.

Join them on the first Tuesday of every month for Narcan training and more information contact Anjali Gonguntla and join the Prevent and Protect Project GroupMe.

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About the Contributor
Mikaila Neverson, News Editor
As news editor, Mikaila covers issues and events that affect students on campus. She keeps students updated on the news that matters most. Whether it be breaking news or campus events, she keeps students updated with what they need to know. She also has a penchant for podcasting and food writing.