How the Opidemic affects Weber’s community

Marisa Nelson

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Different organizations came out to raise opioid awareness (Israel Campa / The Signpost)

On the week of Oct. 1-4, Weber State University assistant professor Todd Hillhouse organized an opioid awareness week.

The week included an awareness fair, speakers and expert panel. The event aimed to spread awareness about addiction and give resources to students who are struggling or know those who are.

Many clubs and booths sat around the Steward Bell Tower Plaza to give members of the Weber State community resources to fight the opioid epidemic.

Among those were the Student Wellness Center on campus.

Kim Crookston, who is an intern for Student Wellness, said that opioids and addiction in general is a prevalent problem in the world. She said she was excited about this event because then those who are struggling with addiction or opioids will know there are people who care and want to help them.

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Different organizations came out to raise opioid awareness (Israel Campa / The Signpost)

The Utah Harm Reduction Coalition was another provider of resources at the fair. The mission of the UHRC is to provide interventions to aid others in reducing health risks, diseases, social harms and more associated with substance abuse.

“People who are still in the middle of their addiction are still worth something,” Shi Alex with UHRC said. “And they are worth help, and what we want to do is help them not catch diseases and keep them alive.”

Alex mentioned that they have resources to provide HIV and Hepatitis C testing, providing sterile equipment and a supportive environment at their Utah Overdose Prevention Sites.

Mental health is also a key factor in dealing with opioid addiction. A lot of addictions are psychological, according to Vice President of the Psi Chi club at Weber, AnnElise Dahl.

She believes that hitting the problem at the start can really combat the problem. Knowing about opioids can help those who aren’t addicted perform outreach to those around them and can get them to resources. Dahl wants students to know that they are not hopeless, but that this is a problem, and we need to not turn a blind eye to this issue.

Hillhouse wanted to organize this event because almost everyone is affected by opioids all while many students and community members are unaware of the fact that anyone is struggling.

The awareness week had many different groups and people who were there specifically to target different areas of the opioid epidemic. Hillhouse said that Thursday’s expert panel would be a nice resource because students were able to ask specific questions to policy makers, doctors, and more.