Opioid reversal drug now available to prevent overdose deaths

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point has joined colleges and universities across the country in making Naloxone – an opioid reversal drug – available on campus to help prevent overdose deaths. 
Beginning today, 17 Nalox-Zone boxes are being installed in residence halls and buildings with high public use. These include Dreyfus University Center, DeBot Dining Center Marshfield Clinic Health System Champions Hall and Noel Fine Arts Center.
“The availability of Naloxone provides us with another tool to help save lives,” said Tony Babl, UW-Stevens Point police chief.
The Wisconsin Voices for Recovery provides these life-saving measures for free. The Nalox-Zone Box Program aims to distribute as many boxes as possible across the state of Wisconsin.  
Each Nalox-Zone box includes two Narcan nasal sprays, masks for rescue breathing and simple instructions on how to use the medication. 
Naloxone, a medicine commonly referred to by the brand name Narcan, can save lives if administered immediately after someone shows signs of an opioid overdose. 
“The increased presence of opioids in our society is concerning,” Babl said. “We don’t condone illicit drug use. But the risk of overdose, especially with reports of young people inadvertently taking drugs laced with fentanyl, is very dangerous.”  
Recognizing the public health threat, UW-Stevens Point is partnering with Portage County Public Health to provide training for the use of Naloxone.
UW-Stevens Point has had no overdose deaths on campus. University Police are among local officers who carry Narcan, and University officers have not had to use it on campus.
The Nalox-Zone boxes are available for students, faculty, staff or campus visitors to use as needed.  
Stevens Point is one of the safest communities in the state that is home to a college or university. “The addition of the Nalox-Zone boxes is an important program to support the wellbeing of our students and campus community,” Babl said.  
“We are looking to increase safety across Wisconsin communities, especially with the rise in fentanyl mixed with illicit drugs including opioids, stimulants and even marijuana. Fentanyl is extremely potent and can be lethal in very small amounts,” said Cindy Burzinski, director of Wisconsin Voices for Recovery, which is part of the UW-Madison Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. 
More than 150 people die every day from overdoses related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
In 2021, two UW-Milwaukee students overdosed and died after taking counterfeit prescription pills laced with fentanyl. Their parents are among those advocating for Nalox-Zone boxes to be installed on campuses throughout the state. 
Anyone interested in learning more about the Nalox-Zone Program, or who would like to obtain free Narcan, may email naloxzone@fammed.wisc.edu.  

Caption: Mac Paszkiewicz installs a Naloxone box with an opioid reversal drug at Baldwin Hall, one of 17 locations at UW-Stevens Point where they are being placed to help prevent overdose deaths.