On November 7th, 2022, the Yale chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), a Dwight Hall member group, hosted a training session on the use of naloxone. Naloxone (often called Narcan) is a drug, administered through nasal spray or injection, that is used to aid individuals overdosing on opioids. According to Yale SSDP President Amanda Ivatorov ’23+1, the training taught valuable skills and information to participants, striving towards SSDP’s harm reduction goals. “Narcan training is an important initiative that increases awareness for the overdose epidemic and teaches students how to help when in a situation where someone is overdosing and can benefit from Narcan,” Amanda said.
The training session was part of a larger Narcan certification initiative led by Amanda. Although the course was not advertised widely, it sold out in under a week. “I sent an email to our mailing list, and word just spread from there,” Amanda explains. “It’s clear that there is a need for this type of training on campus, and we hope to provide more trainings similar to this one for students in the future!”
The November 7th training consisted of a lecture given by Andressa Granado, an Opioid Community Health Worker at the New Haven Health Department. Andressa spoke on a wide range of subjects, including how to identify an overdose, what resources one can call upon, and how to administer Narcan to those who need it. Amanda expressed gratitude for Andressa and her work, citing her care for the New Haven community and passion for harm reduction approaches to drug policy. “Andressa truly surpassed our expectations with an incredibly knowledgeable and engaging certification course,” Amanda reflected after the training session. “We are so grateful to her for her time and knowledge.”
Also present at the event were Yale’s Mascot Handsome Dan and Service Dog Heidi. The event was followed by a social function with bagels, muffins, and discussions of future harm reduction initiatives at Yale.
In the future, SSDP at Yale hopes to continue spreading awareness about harm reduction to the Yale community and beyond. Vice President Sita Kottilil ’25 is leading an initiative to write and distribute pamphlets about drug policy around campus, and Secretary and Communications Manager Shakina Williams ’25 is spearheading lessons in New Haven high schools to teach students about drug safety and equip them with the skills to safely navigate through situations they may face in high school or college. Finally, Director of Program Expansion Kyle Shepherd ’25 is leading a panel entitled, “America’s Biggest Drug Problem: Opioids,” which will feature experts in the field including Dr. Kathryn Hawk (Emergency Medicine, Yale School of Medicine), Chandra Fincke ’24 (Neuroscience ’24, Technology Specialist, Yale College), Tamara Beetham (MPH, Health Economics & Management), and Christine Montgomery (Vice President, Clifford Beers Guidance Clinic).