Located in southern Georgia, Valdosta State University is known for its natural beauty and award-winning design, with an undergraduate enrollment of about 10,000 students. The school has an active Campus Wellness program, offering resources and initiatives to help the student body live a healthy lifestyle, including a walking trail, Benefits and Wellness Fair and fitness classes.
A new initiative at the University is being led by Emily Brown, who serves several roles including graduate assistant for Health Promotions and Wellness, president of the Association of Graduate Students and student liaison and peer educator for the College Prevention Program.
Opioid-involved overdose deaths have been rapidly increasing in Georgia, driven largely by increased use and misuse of prescription opioids. Brown and a team of volunteers have begun to educate students on the dangers of opioids and the importance of properly disposing of leftover prescription medications to keep them out of the wrong hands.
Last month, the Campus Wellness program hosted an event to showcase visual representations of the prevalence of substance and prescription abuse and its impact on mental health. Campus Wellness volunteers distributed approximately 150 brochures which included information on how to cope with conditions such as anxiety, depression and stress, as well as how to recognize these disorders, and when and where to seek help. The first 48 people who stopped by received a tea bag to encourage relaxing or stress relief as an alternative coping mechanism to prescription medications that can easily be abused. DisposeRx packets and educational information were also given to students who had prescriptions to encourage proper disposal.
Emily and team are now planning a Drug Take Back Day in November. In addition to encouraging students and faculty to drop off their unused medications, they will distribute DisposeRx packets and educational materials to encourage prompt and proper medication disposal.
Kudos to Valdosta State University for their efforts, and welcome to the DisposeRx Community Outreach partner community!