Senate Passes Resolution Against Substance Abuse Crisis

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Ram Praneeth | Contributing Writer 

To address the growing addiction crisis, senators Kaily LaChapelle, Hua Hui Vogel, Erika Noel, and Ness Cruz have introduced a pivotal resolution titled “Stop Addiction Fatality Epidemic”, or SAFE.

The resolution underscores the urgent need for increased harm reduction and recovery services on campus and highlights the senators’ commitment to strengthening the community for those affected by addiction and in recovery.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one million people have died since 1999 from drug overdoses,” stated Senator LaChapelle, emphasizing the gravity of the situation. 

The resolution underscores the urgent need to implement harm reduction training on campus with departments, student organizations, and Greek Life through collaboration between nonprofits in the community and the Department of Student Health and Wellness.

“It’s crucial that we take proactive measures to address this epidemic and provide support for those struggling with addiction.”

The resolution draws attention to alarming statistics, including the prevalence of fentanyl overdoses among young adults. “Fentanyl overdoses are the leading cause of death among those aged 18-45,” noted Senator Vogel, citing CDC data. “This underscores the urgent need for comprehensive harm reduction strategies to prevent further loss of life.”

Senator Noel highlighted the concerning rates of alcohol and substance use disorders among college students. “In 2019, an estimated 8.7% of full-time students aged 18-22 met criteria for alcohol use disorder,” she stated. “Addressing substance use and providing access to recovery resources are critical components of campus wellness initiatives.”

The resolution also acknowledges recent legislative efforts in Florida to address the addiction crisis. “The passage of SB 164 and HB 39 demonstrates a commitment to tackling addiction at the state level,” remarked Senator Cruz. “These laws provide essential tools and resources to combat substance abuse and save lives.”

Recognizing the importance of harm reduction strategies, the resolution advocates for the implementation of evidence-based interventions.

“Harm reduction is an approach that promotes health by meeting individuals where they are,” explained Senator LaChapelle. “By providing resources such as fentanyl test strips and Narcan, we can reduce the risks associated with substance use.”

Senators also aim to leverage partnerships with non-profit organizations to amplify their impact. 

Senator Hua Hui Vogel stressed the importance of community involvement, stating, “By engaging students, faculty, and staff, we can foster a culture of support and understanding on campus.”

“Collaborating with organizations like F*** Fentanyl and the Recovery Advocacy Project allows us to expand our reach and advocate for policy changes,” noted Senator Vogel. “Together, we can make a meaningful difference in the fight against addiction.”

Furthermore, the resolution calls for concrete action from university leadership to support students in recovery. 

Amidst the discussions, Senator LaChapelle underscored the need for institutional commitment, stating, “It’s essential that FIU leadership takes proactive steps to implement the recommendations put forth by the resolution.”

“Establishing dedicated spaces for recovery and expanding counseling services are crucial steps in creating a supportive campus environment,” emphasized Senator Noel. “We must prioritize the well-being of our students and ensure they have access to the resources they need to thrive.”

Senator Hua Hui Vogel, in alignment with her fellow senators, emphasized, “We are committed to ensuring that every student has access to the support they need to overcome addiction and thrive on campus.” This reflects the unified dedication to addressing addiction comprehensively.

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