CUNY prof tackles opioid crisis

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By Greis Torres
Campus News

Professor Sophia Aidiniou, a new faculty member in the Health, Physical Education, and Gerontology Department at CUNY York College held a narcan training for faculty and staff on Dec. 13 in the Academic Core building as an effort to prevent overdoses and save lives on campus.

She collaborated with the Health Services Center at York College, and the executive director and co-founder of The Community Action for Social Justice Tina Wolf to bring this event to campus.

“The dramatic rise in opioid-related deaths has devastated our communities from Suffolk County, Long Island to the Bronx,” said Aidiniou in an email. “I thought to myself there’s something I have to do at York to help this crisis, so I collaborated with a non-profit organization called The Community Action for Social Justice to bring their Overdose Prevention Program to York College to train and certify the Health and Physical Education faculty on Narcan.”

At the training, attendees were taught how to recognize the signs of an overdose, and how to administer Narcan, better known as Naloxone, which is a drug that can reverse an overdose.

Everyone who attended the training received a Narcan kit. Wolf was the guest speaker at the event where she discussed how important needle exchange programs are.

“The guest speaker was very knowledgeable about Narcan and gave many real life stories about the importance of clean needles for those who do have a drug addiction,” said Reinold McNickle, health and physical education lecturer at York College. “The event was very informative, and I now have a Narcan kit which I could use if I see someone in need.”

Health and Physical Education Professor Aidiniou has incorporated opioid education to several health classes she teaches. “I always make sure my lessons are always up to date and related to current health issues in our communities,” said Aidiniou.

York College offers many health courses on drug use and abuse, which help students to know more about the effects opioids and other drugs have on the body.

According to a New York government report, every seven hours a person overdoses on opioids, Fentanyl overdose being the most prevalent cause of death. Overall, opioid overdose has increased in the past six years in NYC and, in total, most New Yorkers die from opioid overdoses than in homicides, suicides and accidents.