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By WVUA Student Reporter Giselle Hood
Doctors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham are hoping to combat drug overdoses by using Naloxone. Naloxone is a life-saving medication that can reverse an overdose from opioids—including heroin, fentanyl, and prescription opioid medications—when given in time. There are two forms of Naloxone: a prefilled nasal spray and an injectable or shot. To help prevent children from overdosing, high school administrators are hoping to get ahead of the problem by focusing on prevention. Carie Wimberly, Executive Director of the Addiction Prevention Coalition of Birmingham, said there are peer-led groups, with adult supervision, in high schools. Her organization trains the leaders of those groups. These groups talk about drugs and alcohol and alcohol use.
“They have conversations about drugs and alcohol and about the catalysts that may lead to substance use and misuse,” said Wimberly.
Over the last year, doctors say they are seeing a rise in Xanax, Adderall, vaping and marijuana laced with fentanyl.“We have to acknowledge that the youth are going to experiment and we have to acknowledge that my patients, who are many of them young and otherwise healthy are going to experiment. And it is important to realize Alabama legalized fentanyl testing strips for this reason,” said Ellen Eaton, Associate Professor of Medicine in the UAB division of infectious diseases.
School faculty and staff try their best to stop students from using illegal drugs.
Dr. Rebekah Savage is an adolescent medicine specialist in Birmingham. She specializes in treating young patients during their formative adolescent years. She said parents can do a better job of watching their children by staying involved in their lives.
“Stay suspicious, keep in touch with what your child is doing, check their cell phones, watch their social media, educating them early,” Savage said.Doctors hope students stay aware of the medicines they are taking and educate themselves on how to stay healthy.
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