Summer Break—Party like a Slug! What's your party plan?

June 01, 2016

June 1, 2016
To: UC Santa Cruz Community
From: Nader Oweis, Chief of Police, UC Santa Cruz Police Department 
          Sue Matthews, Associate Vice Chancellor, CHES 
          Mary Knudtson, Executive Director, Cowell Student Health Center
Re: Summer Break—Party like a Slug! What's your party plan?
As you are aware, the impact that alcohol and other drugs have had on our community has made it a challenging year. As a community we have had to deal with several very public drug arrests, the tragedy of student overdose deaths, and the loss of lives due to a student allegedly driving under the influence. Additionally, we are aware of several students that have chosen to leave UC Santa Cruz because of the impact of alcohol and/or other drugs in their lives.
Since April, first responders successfully revived a student who had overdosed from heroin, have made several arrests associated with drugs and weapons, and continued to follow up on tips and leads about drug related crimes in our community. The City on a Hill Press recently posted an article about these actions.
In spite of these challenges, there have been many positive outcomes to help our community move forward. The increased exposure has allowed us to
  • have greater collaboration between departments campuswide to address the harms associated with high-risk alcohol and other drug use; 
  • engage in meaningful dialogue to challenge the cultural norm and strengthen our strategies to comprehensively support community members that need help with their alcohol and other drug use; and, 
  • create awareness among community members who have sought help for those in need of help from the effects of alcohol and other drugs use. They have saved lives.
Yet there is still more to do. Both the campus and Santa Cruz community continue to struggle with these issues. We continue to be committed to preventing overdose deaths, educating students how to have a fun social life in college without putting themselves or others in danger, and encouraging community members to look out for each other and seeking assistance by immediately calling 911 or others for help when needed.
Moreover, as this academic year comes to an end, we want to make you are aware of the following:
The prevalence of counterfeit hydrocodone in Santa Cruz County, as well as throughout California, has resulted in several overdose deaths. These non-pharmaceutically-obtained counterfeit pills have turned out to be fentanyl, a very powerful opioid pain reliever, which if not taken properly can cause death or other serious health issues. Fentanyl is about 80-100 times more potent than morphine and about 50 times more potent than heroin. To make matters worse, the counterfeit hydrocodone appear very similar to genuine pharmacy-obtained medication, and from the naked eye you may not be able to tell a difference.
Naloxone kits (also known as Narcan) have become widely available to help curb overdoses from opioids such as heroin, Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, morphine, codeine, and others. Naloxone kits are easily administered by anyone to temporarily "interrupt" an overdose while emergency medical services are on their way. It is critical to call 911 to get professional assistance if a naloxone kit is administered. It is important to note that naloxone kits do not guarantee that a victim will not suffer harm, injury, or death.
Naloxone kits can be obtained at the Student Health Center pharmacy on campus. Students who have UCSHIP will pay a $5 copay for naloxone kits and receive brief training on how to use the naloxone kits when they pick up their kit. A video demonstration of the use of Naloxone kits is also available online.
Individuals interested in acquiring a naloxone kit who do not have UCSHIP are encouraged to meet with a SHOP staff person. Even if you do not have the UCSHIP health insurance SHOP will assist you in obtaining a naloxone kit.
The Student Health Center pharmacy—which is a confidential and safe space—also provides personal sharps containers for campus community members who use injectable medications. Additionally, syringes and needles are available without a prescription to any student who asks for them.
We are not alone in addressing these problems. In fact, the White House recently released a communication about addiction and the opioid epidemic. The video of President Barack Obama and Grammy Award-winning artist Macklemore is available online.
When community members can recognize an overdose and act quickly, lives can be saved. This is another way we can all play a part. The UC Santa Cruz Police Department, Student Health Center, and Colleges, Housing and Educational Services (CHES) want all students to be educated to recognize the signs and symptoms of an overdose and know how and when to get help for each other.
An overdose can vary from person to person. However, most people experiencing an overdose present these common symptoms:
  • Will NOT wake up—unconscious and unresponsive 
  • Unable to stand, walk, or have control of their bodily functions 
  • Uncontrollable vomiting 
  • Slow/irregular breathing-gurgled sounding 
  • Pale skin 
  • Bluish tinge to mouth and fingernails
Call 911 without hesitation if you suspect someone is experiencing alcohol poisoning or a drug overdose. Even if you aren't sure or don't want any trouble, please call. You could save a life!
Party like a SLUG! What's your Party Plan? is based on the philosophy that our students can have a fun social life in college without putting themselves or others in danger. Party like a Slug! What's Your Party Plan? strives to provide information, strategies, and opportunities to engage in honest dialog to help make UC Santa Cruz student's partying experience safer and more fun. Party like a Slug! What's your party plan? also aims to support UCSC students who choose not to drink or use drugs.
Party like a Slug! What's Your Party Plan? is supported by SHOP staff but it is intended to be a movement, by and for students. The program utilizes Party Safe Ambassadors to help teach their peers who choose to drink or experiment to do so in a less risky way. Party Safe Ambassadors will help our campus change the narrative about the campus party culture. They strive to teach their peers that they can have fun while still taking care of themselves and their friends. Everyone can play a part in taking care of one another and the Party Safe Ambassadors will be out and about on campus next year helping students increase their skills.
For more information check out our developing website:
If you or someone you care about needs support around overuse of alcohol and/or drugs or would like to learn more about obtaining a naloxone kit, utilize the resources provided to students through Student Health Outreach and Promotion (SHOP) program in the Cowell Student Health Center. SHOP is a safe, confidential and nonjudgmental space where students can talk about alcohol and other drugs. For faculty and staff, assistance is available through the Employee Assistance Program.
SHOP also provides services for students in recovery.
At the start of the next academic year, we hope to continue this dialogue with a series of educational and informational communications. As this year comes to an end, we remind you that we all have an important part to play to combat the alcohol and drug-related challenges that we have seen in increasing numbers recently. We remind you to take necessary precautions during the summer break, to remain healthy and stay safe.
Have a nice summer!
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