How YOU can be prepared for drug and alcohol emergencies – The Official Student Newspaper of Indiana University South Bend

On Oct. 13, local first responders received a call from an individual located at River Crossing Campus Housing. According to the individual, a non-resident was in distress in one of the apartments. A paramedic who responded to the scene indicated that they were searching for someone having a medical issue related to drug or alcohol use.

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By: The Preface Staff

On Oct. 13, local first responders received a call from an individual located at River Crossing Campus Housing. According to the individual, a non-resident was in distress in one of the apartments. A paramedic who responded to the scene indicated that they were searching for someone having a medical issue related to drug or alcohol use.

According to an email sent to residents by Scott Strittmatter, director of housing and student life, paramedics, South Bend Fire Department, IU Police and housing staff did not find anyone in distress, and they concluded that no IU South Bend community member was in danger .

While we are fortunate to have a safe campus with plenty of support available, it is always best to be aware of the laws and resources available if we find ourselves in an emergency situation.

In 2012, Indiana enacted the Lifeline Law, which permits immunity to an individual who reports an alcohol-related emergency, even if the consumption of alcohol was illicit. This law was created in hopes of lowering the amount of alcohol-poisoning related deaths, especially for the underage population.

To be granted this immunity, there are specific requirements the reporter must match. All requirements are necessary, or an individual risk facing legal consequences. To prove they are acting in good faith, the individual must provide full names and any other relevant information requested by law enforcement. This information allows first responders to identify the potential victim sooner and be in contact with emergency contacts of the victim.

Along with providing important information, the caller must stay on the scene until first responders arrive.

Lastly, cooperation with law enforcement and emergency responders who arrive on the scene further instills that the caller is seeking the best assistance possible for the person at risk.

In 2014, the Lifeline Law was expanded to include a mitigating circumstance for drug use. If someone is using an illegally controlled substance and a medical emergency occurs, they should call first responders and try to save a life. Under the Lifeline Law, if you are discovered committing a drug offense because you called in a medical emergency, you will receive a reduced punishment for the offense.

If you find yourself in a situation with a medical emergency related to drugs or alcohol, it is always best to call first responders. Even if you are uncertain someone has crossed the threshold of alcohol poisoning or drug overdose, it is still best to call 911 as a preventative measure. The diagram below can tell you what signs to look for if you are concerned someone is in distress.

After calling 911, students can reach the IU Police Department at 574-520-4239 to receive immediate on-campus emergency help. It is also encouraged that students in campus housing reach out to their building’s Resident Assistant or the RA on duty in situations where they feel unsafe in drug- or alcohol-related situations. The RA on duty can be reached at 574-904-7718.

To be more prepared as an individual, students can also visit the Vera Z. Dwyer Health and Wellness Center on campus to get nasal Narcan. Narcan is the brand name for the chemical naloxone hydrochloride, which is used as an emergency treatment for opioid overdose.

Narcan works by temporarily removing the opiate from receptors in the brain, which reverses the symptoms of overdose and restores breathing in a few minutes. However, it is not a substitute for emergency care; if you need to use nasal Narcan, you should call 911 before administering it, since a person may go back into overdose after Narcan has been administered. Narcan will not harm someone who is not in opioid overdose, so if you have reason to believe someone is overdosing, it is better safe than sorry to use it.

According to the Narcan website, most opioid overdoses occur at home while someone else is present, which makes it especially important for us to be prepared. Even if you don’t think you will be in a situation where an overdose could happen, carrying nasal Narcan is one of the best ways to be prepared.

Opioid overdose does not just happen to those who use heroin or fentanyl; some people take prescription opioids for pain or an injury (such as Demerol, Dilaudid, and OxyContin), which can also cause an overdose. Additionally, some cannabis may be laced with opioids without the user knowing, which increases the risk of overdose or medical emergency. Most opioid overdoses are accidental, and such overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in the US

You can find more information about where to get Narcan, how to use it and other opioid facts at the Health and Wellness Center and at narcan.com.

If you have been through a difficult situation, or if you or someone you know is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, the Student Counseling Center of IU South Bend offers free services to students in need. They can be contacted at 574-520-4125 or through their website.

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