All 29 College Campuses in West Virginia Equipped to Respond to Opioid Emergencies W.Va. – In early 2022, the West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute, the West Virginia Collegiate Recovery Network (WVCRN), and Marshall University launched a new overdose prevention initiative on West Virginia’s college and university campuses entitled, “Be The One.” The initiative focuses on opioid overdose prevention from a bystander’s perspective, encouraging students, staff, and faculty to Be The One to save a life. A major component of the initiative includes the distribution and installation of the ONEbox ™ at West Virginia’s public and private four-year colleges and universities, and on the state’s community and technical college campuses, totaling twenty-nine schools. These resources, along with naloxone, have been provided at no cost to the schools through grant funds. The ONEbox™ is an on-demand, one-of-a-kind, technology-enabled opioid overdose rescue response kit intended to contain two doses of naloxone, an opioid reversal medication along with personal protective equipment. The box also contains instantaneous video instructions (in both English and Spanish) that are activated when ONEbox™ is opened. Using a by-stander intervention model, this video talks the responder through the overdose emergency and administration of naloxone. A training mode is also available for use during a non-emergency. The ONEbox™ was invented by WV native & entrepreneur, Joe Murphy, owner and CEO of Murphy Media. “Drug overdoses caused by fentanyl are now the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18 to 45,” explained Dr. Susan Bissett, president of the West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute. “As a former campus administrator who, unfortunately, responded to an overdose on one of our state’s campuses, I know all too well the trauma an overdose can cause not only to a student’s family but the entire campus community. We can now truly say that West Virginia campuses are among the safest in the country with the installation of ONEboxes™ and commitment to the Be The One program.” As of December 7, 2022 all West Virginia public and private four-year colleges and universities, and the state’s community and technical college’s, either already have the ONEbox™ on campus, or are committed to the installation of the boxes prior to 2023. After achieving adoption of this initiative with the 11 schools that are part of the Alliance for the Economic Development of Southern West Virginia it became our mission to provide these life saving tools on every campus in WV. “I am so proud of our Presidents across the state for joining this voluntary effort and that West Virginia is the first state to have naloxone and the ONEbox™ on every campus,” shared Susie Mullens, Program Coordinator for the West Virginia Collegiate Recovery Network who has led the team to coordinate the statewide expansion. “West Virginia is setting a national precedent that we hope other states will adopt.”"Our colleges and universities across the state serve as pillars of their local communities," said Matt Christiansen, Director of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources' Office of Drug Control Policy. "We are so proud that they are leading our state in supporting students in recovery, offering naloxone, and helping to spread the message that recovery is possible for everyone."
The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s Behavioral Health Programs has supported the naloxone-on-campus initiative since the beginning. This state-level support includes recent grant funds to recruit student ambassadors on college campuses to share opioid misuse prevention and medication safety education with their peers.
“We are proud to be part of a network of people and organizations committed to working together to increase access to resources in support of students’ health and educational success on every college campus across the state,” said Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker, West Virginia’s Chancellor of Higher Education.
To learn more about the ONEbox™ and the West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute, visit https://www.wvdii.org/onebox. For more information regarding the West Virginia Collegiate Recovery Network, The Alliance for the Economic Development of Southern West Virginia, or the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, you can visit the links below.