“I’m a Covenant Scholar, so I feel that it’s a very effective program,” she said. “It’s definitely taken a lot of pressure off of me. If it were possible to extend the program, I think that would be a great step moving forward to make sure that it covers more students.”
Christi Hurt, UNC assistant vice chancellor and chief of staff for student affairs, said during the sexual assault panel that sexual violence is an outcome of a society that gives power to some over others. Parties and alcohol provide cover for perpetrators to operate, she said.
“Sexual violence is used to keep some folks disempowered and others in power,” Hurt said.
Substance abuse, the final topic covered, is particularly relevant to North Carolina due to the ongoing opioid crisis as well as the connection between alcohol abuse and self-medication on college campuses. The response to this issue is centered primarily around prevention, treatment and enforcement solutions.
Steve Marshall, a professor of epidemiology at UNC, said during the panel that doctors often receive pressure to overprescribe drugs to reduce pain.
“If you had elective surgery, you had a little bit of pain and you took Percocet for a couple of days, you would have a two month supply,” he said. “So now those other 56 days are sitting in the cabinet, and that is a time bomb waiting to go off — for your children and for people who come to your house.”
Panelist Morgan Vickers, a UNC senior, said she was able to sustain her narcotics recovery through a collegiate treatment program, but not all are as fortunate.
“There are some students who are able to find recovery and sustain recovery while being in a collegiate environment,” she said. “Being in a collegiate environment is counterproductive for a person in recovery in a lot of different ways. There are parties and access to drugs and alcohol nearly every single day of the week.”
Stein said rural communities are hit hardest by the opioid crisis, having disproportionate percentages of individuals impacted and higher mortality rates. Because rural areas have fewer resources to deal with this problem, judges are forced to send people to jail rather than treatment centers.
His main goal for the panel series is to engage people and give them the skills needed to prevent these problems from happening or, when something happens, the tools to deal with them in an effective way.