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University cautions against potential local fentanyl presence

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Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole warned the student body of the dangers of fentanyl-laced counterfeit drugs in a campus-wide email on Friday.

Her message followed a Jan. 17 AlertSU notification and a September 2018 health advisory from the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department (SCCPH) about the dangers of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl. The Undergraduate Senate is concurrently discussing a response to opioids on campus.

Fentanyl is an opioid 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine, according to the SCCPH health advisory. These pills “may be in wide circulation around the county and state and have seized large quantities from multiple locations across the county,” the advisory states.

On Friday, Brubaker-Cole urged students to “read every word” of her email, which warned of “dangerous counterfeit prescription drugs in our community.” The email included photos of the allegedly seized pills as well as a scaled photo of 2 milligrams of fentanyl, enough to cause respiratory arrest and death.

Brubaker-Cole outlined three initiatives to start “immediately” confronting the problem of fentanyl on campus. The University will increase online prescription drug education, host community forums, and increase student drug screening and assessment for students seeking help through the Office of Alcohol Policy and Education, Residential Education and Vaden Health Center, she wrote.

Brubaker-Cole’s email follows a Jan. 17 “Timely Warning” alert sent by the Stanford Department of Public Safety in conjunction with the Jeanne Clery Act warning recipients not to consume drugs not prescribed to them, citing reports of illegally manufactured pills containing fentanyl.

“As many of you know, young people are dying in record numbers after consuming drugs containing fentanyl,” Brubaker-Cole wrote on Friday.

The Jan. 17 alert was published hours after a student died in his on-campus residence, although the alert did not mention him, and no connection has been confirmed. The Santa Clara County coroner’s office is still investigating the cause of his death.

Discussion of the presence of opioids on campus has also reached the Undergraduate Senate. 

On Jan. 29, the Undergraduate Senate discussed a resolution proposed by Senator Sam Schimmel ’22 that would urge the University to provide Narcan, an emergency treatment for opioid overdose, including fentanyl overdoses, in first aid kits of all dorms and houses. Senators expressed support for the resolution but suggested it needed to be further refined before being presented to the University.

Contact Danielle Echeverria at dech23 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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