Addictions continue to rise; college responds

Roxanne Ready, Editor-in-Chief

Cases of opioid addiction and overdose in the U.S. have risen sharply over the last two years, and AACC has resources for affected students.

President Donald Trump in October declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency.

“The devastation is unprecedented,” said the manager of Health Services at AACC, Beth Mays. “I don’t know if a day goes by anymore where someone doesn’t have some connection—you know, someone whose family member’s just died or who’s got a friend that’s just died. … It’s just constant.”

In a 2015 national survey by Q Market Research of 1,151 college students and alumni, almost one-third said they know someone who has overdosed on prescribed pain medication or heroin.

In Anne Arundel, the county police department reported responding to 862 incidents of opioid overdose this year as of Oct. 11, compared with 291 in 2015.

But as not all overdoses involve the police, the number is likely even higher.

Of overdoses the Anne Arundel County Police Department reported this year, 121 were fatal, nearly four times as many as in 2015.

“I know quite a few people who didn’t make it out of those streets [where I was homeless] as a result of [the epidemic]—one of my best friends, actually,” said Ron Easley, an addiction counseling major at

AACC who is in recovery for opioid use.

Police Chief Sean Kapfhammer said no overdoses have occurred on campus at AACC since he started working here in summer 2016.

Kapfhammer also said if a student arrived at the campus police station seeking help, “we [at the station] would certainly help the student to obtain whatever help he or she needed to begin recovery.”

All AACC campus police and public safety officers are trained to administer the opioid overdose-reversing medication naloxone—also known by the brand name Narcan.

Three nurses and four students who work or volunteer at AACC’s Health Center are also trained to administer the medication.

AACC is one of only about a half-dozen community colleges to have a collegiate recovery center, where students can attend weekly 12-step meetings, request counseling or professional services, or get support from trained volunteers who are in recovery.

Mays said Health Services, Public Safety and Academic Services are all involved in efforts to support students affected by the opioid crisis.

“We’re all working to create educational pieces so that every student on this campus receives education … about risks and options and [has access to] hope and resources,” said Mays.

AACC’s Health Services will host naloxone training sessions in SUN 102 on Nov. 8 at 10 a.m. and Nov. 9 at 3 p.m. to teach students, faculty and staff to use the medication to reverse opioid overdose symptoms. Anyone interested should register beforehand through the collegiate recovery center.