Student Newswire of The University of Arizona School of Journalism

Arizona Sonoran News

Arizona Sonoran News

Student Newswire of The University of Arizona School of Journalism

Arizona Sonoran News

UA student group, Fraternity and Sorority Programs team up to supply greek life with resources

Kiara Adams
A box of Narcan and QR Code surveys for students to fill out during free Fentanyl and Narcan handout provided by UA TACO and Fraternity and Sorority Programs on March 25 at Greek Heritage Park on the University of Arizona Campus.

Team Awareness Combating Overdose UA and Fraternity and Sorority Programs coordinated throughout the month of March to hand out fentanyl test strips and Narcan to the UA Greek community.

Not even the rain stopped their event on Monday, March 25, held at Greek Heritage Park on campus.

Fraternity and Sorority Health and Wellness Chair Vanessa Madrid-Resendiz said that the turnout was great for their two earlier events on March 11 and 18. The Greek community also showed up strongly for Monday’s event.

“Fentanyl is a really big deal and so to have these resources it feels like we’d be better safe than sorry,” said UA junior Katie Capellanio. “These resources can be used to help others and potentially save a life.”

TACO President Madison Trotter said the group made Greek life the target for these handout events because it knows that fraternities and sororities come with a big party scene.

“In these kinds of settings it’s good to be educated and informed on harm reduction on college campuses,” Trotter said. “We offer these harm reduction tools by providing the fentanyl test strips and FSP comes in with the Narcan, so we now have two resources to give to this community.”

Madrid-Resendiz said that it’s part of her job as the health and wellness coordinator to give out these resources to students in these spaces to try and prevent something tragic. Trotter also recognizes the good these resources can do for everyone.

“No one is above or below the issue of fentanyl in our community,” Trotter said. “We’re aware of the statistics and we’re aiming to reduce harm on college campuses. Using illicit substances doesn’t make you a bad person, we just want to make sure that if someone is going to partake they’re doing it in a safe manner.”

Madrid-Resendiz said FSP and TACO are not out there to bust people for partying, the organizations just want people to be safe and have the necessary tools in case of an emergency.

College opioid abuse is more prevalent than some may think. According to American Addiction Centers, painkiller abuse among college students is a significant concern with 130 people in the US dying from opioid overdoses every day. The center says that this issue warrants attention from parents, college staff and peers.

According to a weekly updated database by the Arizona Department of Health Services, so far in 2024 there have been 607 non-fatal overdose events and 74 confirmed opioid deaths in the state.

Tucson City Council last October declared a public health emergency with the rising fentanyl issue in Pima County.

Trotter said that the group has received feedback that their handouts have been put to use. From events where fraternities have DJs or to formal trips to Las Vegas, TACO has heard that its products have come in handy for some students.

“My sorority president let us know about these events,” said freshman Emma Reser, a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. “They shared with us the importance of having these items and that even if we don’t need them for ourselves, they can be used to help others.”

Madrid-Resendiz said that both fraternities and sororities have been consistently coming out to the events as well as communicating their gratitude for FSP and TACOs services being available for students.

She said that students are looking for more interactive events and more ways to get involved and educated about opioids to help end the stigma around the drug’s use.

To learn more about TACO UA, follow them on instagram @taco.uofa, and to learn more about Fraternity and Sorority Programs, visit its website.

Arizona Sonoran News is a news service of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.

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About the Contributor
Kiara Adams
Kiara Adams, Reporter

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