Student-doctors at the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM) have created an Opioid Task Force, in an effort to aid in the fight against the growing opioid epidemic.
Following in the footsteps of the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) and other colleges of osteopathic medicine, ICOM’s Opioid Task Force is an initiative led entirely by students, which involves greater education of opioids for health professionals and the general community through direct public outreach.
“This is a way to bring awareness to the opioid epidemic on a national scale,” said Student-Doctor David Bassa, President of ICOM SOMA. “The idea is to have each college of osteopathic medicine start a task force to address the epidemic in their respective states and region.”
To kick off the initiative, nearly 200 of ICOM’s medical students attended the task force’s first event on Wednesday, Nov. 20, entitled “Train the Trainer – Narcan and the Opioid Epidemic.” Guest speaker, Dr. Derek Isenor, an emergency medicine physician who specializes in medical toxicology, spoke to students about the opioid epidemic, and how to properly administer Narcan in the event of an overdose.
To aid in this in initiative, ICOM’s Opioid Task Force received a grant from the Idaho Office of Drug Policy, providing them with a supply of Narcan to redistribute for use in high-risk areas throughout the community.
“The Idaho Office of Drug Policy provided us with 75 kits of Narcan, with each kit containing two doses,” said Student-Doctor Zacharie Finneman, Vice President of ICOM SOMA. “This allows us to hold trainings and distribute Narcan in areas where it would be of highest benefit.”
As for next steps, the task force is looking to offer training and tools to prepare local community members to recognize an opioid overdose and administer Narcan, a medication designed to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose.
“Narcan is expensive on its own, and this is a way for us to really help out the community, especially in areas of need,” said Student-Doctor Alay Parikh, Co-Chair of ICOM’s Opioid Task Force. “We had around 180 medical students attend Wednesday’s training, so they’re able to train different community members in how to administer Narcan in the event of an overdose.”
Organizations within the Treasure Valley who are interested in receiving training and Narcan kits are encouraged to reach out to the ICOM Opioid Task Force by emailing [email protected].