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Pennsylvania 
Association of
Student Assistance Professionals 

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Opioid Misuse and the Student Assistance Program

Wednesday, October 31, 2018 10:33 AM | Terry Kerr (Administrator)

What is the role of the Student Assistance Team in addressing the opioid crisis? This past September the Surgeon General recently released, Spotlight on Opioids. Based on data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the report revealed some frightening statistics. In 2017, 11.1 million people aged 12 and older had misused prescription pain relievers in the past year and about 1.7 million people had a prescription pain reliever use disorder. During the same time period, 953,000 people received treatment for the misuse of opioid pain relievers. (Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed tables. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; 2018.)

The Surgeon General calls for all of us to change the way in which we think and talk as well as actions we take regarding the opioid crisis. The Surgeon General recommends the following to prevent and treat opioid misuse and promote recovery:

  •  Talk about opioid misuse. Have a conversation about preventing drug misuse and overdose.
  •  Be safe. Only take opioid medications as prescribed. Store medication in a secure place, and dispose of unused medication properly.
  •  Talk with your healthcare provider. Treatments other than opioids can be effective in managing pain.
  •  Understand that addiction is a chronic disease. However with the right treatment and supports, people do recover.
  •  Be prepared. Obtain and learn how to use Naloxone--an opioid overdose reversing drug.

The Surgeon General calls on educators and academic institutions to do the following:

  •  Implement evidence-based prevention interventions.
  •  Provide treatment and recovery supports.
  •  Teach accurate, up-to-date, scientific information about substance use disorders as medical conditions.
  •  Enhance training of health care professionals.

(U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Surgeon General, Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Spotlight on Opioids. Washington, DC: HHS, September 2018.) http://addiction.surgeongeneral.gov.

In Pennsylvania, Act 55 of 2017 requires that beginning in the 2018-19 school year, public school students in grades six through twelve receive instruction on opioid abuse prevention.

Pennsylvania Association of Student Assistance Professionals
PO Box 165
Titusville, Pennsylvania 16354 

Email us: support@pasap.org 

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