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Texas A&M students train to save lives by fighting opioid epidemic

Posted: 2:28 PM, Feb 12, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-13 12:07:50-05

Students at the  Texas A&M University Health Science Center in Kingsville, plus students at Texas A&M Health Science Centers across the state, are training to save lives. They’re among some of the first 5,000 students in the nation to learn to reverse an opioid overdose.

The students, who will soon be future nurses, physicians, and pharmacists, are learning to recognize an opioid overdose and administer naloxone.

Naloxone or Narcan can reverse an opioid overdose in seconds, and it could save countless lives. It’s something that hits close to home for students in the medical field.

“I’ve actually seen patients in the hospital who’ve have been prescribed opioids,” said Chinelo Nsobundu, a 2nd-year doctoral student at the Health Science Center.

Statistics show that more than 1,300 people died in Texas from opioid-related drug overdoses in 2016. Across the nation, more than 130 people died every day in 2017.

To help fight the epidemic, Health Science Center students formed an opioid task force on campus in January 2018.

“I feel like being a part of the opioid task force, I’m actually doing something about the opioid epidemic,” said Nsobundu.

The students say Texas is not considered a “high incidence” state, because of under-reporting from hospitals and doctors. But now, the task force hopes to educate others about the epidemic, and its impact on families and the community.

“I know that someday, some time, I’m going to meet someone that had an opioid addiction,” said Oluyomi Oloruntoba, a Health Science Center public health student who’s seeking her Master’s degree. “This training is going to help me, to be able to help the person stay alive.”

Soon, the students will even be training other first responders and members of the community on how to recognize an overdose, and also administer Narcan.

The training has already been put to good use.

Five lives have been saved across the state.