SGA renewed a bill with the goal of reducing the risk of fentanyl overdose by providing free fentanyl test strips to UCCS students.
Senator of business Amanda Ford authored the Fentanyl Harm Reduction Bill, a bill that was originally passed last March and was renewed for this semester. The bill allocates a total of $2,173.20, including the 9% GAR tax that charges a general administrative fee to every expense, for the test strips, which can detect the presence of fentanyl in other drugs.
The bill comes in response to the rising increase of fatal fentanyl overdoses in Colorado, which accounted for more than 1,200 deaths in 2021, according to Colorado Public Radio.
According to the CDC, fentanyl is the most common drug involved in overdose deaths in the U.S, with it being up to 50 times stronger than heroin and causing over 150 people to die every day from overdoses related to sythetic opioids like fentanyl.
Ford said UCCS students represent a major intersection of two at-risk groups to this drug.
“Fentanyl kills more Coloradans than any other drug in Colorado. People ages 18-25 use illicit prescription pills more than any other age group, so they’re more likely to consume fentanyl-laced drugs, and because they don’t know that fentanyl is in the pills and they aren’t used to the drug’s potency, they are more likely to overdose,” Ford said.
Around 2,000 free fentanyl test strips from DanceSafe, a nonprofit that provides information about drugs and offers drug-checking services, will once again be available in the Wellness Center, MOSAIC, Public Safety, Student Life and SGA offices.
Ford emphasized the fact that students do not have to request the strips, which might alleviate any embarassment they have.
“What’s really nice about it is students don’t have to ask for them so in all of those locations they are just set out so you can see them, kind of peek at them and grab some. You don’t have to talk to anyone or have that awkward encounter,” Ford said.
Senator-at-large Haley Crist agreed with the bill. “I constantly think about how many lives could be saved if we had this kind of funding. I think this is so beneficial, and I think SGA putting this out has the potential to save a life,” she said.
Senator of engineering Mason Sowanick also agreed with the bill.
“This is becoming a more and more prevalent problem. And, as we live in an environment, particularly on campus, where a lot of people are just kinda coming out into the world and trying things and there’s a lot of peer pressure and other things like that. I think it’s very important that we have something to kind of give a little bit of prevention to this as it continues to grow as a problem,” Sowanick said.
Students can learn more about fentanyl and how to prevent overdose by visiting the Wellness Center website.
In Other News:
- Interim Chancellor Jennifer Sobanet answered questions from SGA members about her goals and plans for UCCS. Sobanet spoke about the campus’ efforts to battle food insecurity for students, working on cascading communications across campus and spoke on how she viewed conflict in a positive light as it provided new perspectives on issues.
- The Student Activity Fee language was approved, which will be put on the ballot for students to vote on during the spring election season.
- The Light the Spine Bill was passed, allocating $5,086.13 (including GAR) for light-board displays set up by clubs and organizations. This will take place along the Spine during finals week.
- The Summoning Spirits Bill was passed, providing $5,995 (including GAR) to bring a Halloween performer onto campus for an event on Oct. 30.
Photo from medicine.wustl.edu.