Actively Moving Forward (AMF) at UNC-CH — a student organization that provides grief support for students who have experienced the loss of a loved one — constructed 450 Narcan kits on Oct. 2 for those at risk of opioid overdoses in North Carolina.
The group partnered with the N.C. Harm Reduction Coalition, a statewide organization that focuses on public health strategies, drug policy transformation and justice reform.
Naloxone, also known by the brand name 'Narcan', is a perscription nasal spray medication used in emergencies to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
The kits contain syringes, vials of naloxone and an informational packet that includes an emergency phone number.
Sophomore Joe Hinchcliffe is the vice president of community service at AMF. As part of his role he plans and executes community service events, and was a primary organizer of the workshop.
“It just feels so rewarding, doing meaningful work and knowing that it’s going to go out and be beneficial in the community," he said. "Also to know that some people in our group that meant a lot to be able to do that."
Vivian Clark, the president and founder of UNC's chapter of AMF, said the workshop was incredibly rewarding for her.
"Having lost my mother to an opioid overdose in 2018, I have spent the past few years conducting research and advocacy for drug overdose prevention," Clark said in an email. "Participating in a workshop like this is something I have been looking forward to for years, especially since I know the impact it has on the surrounding community."
AMF is a national organization with chapters at many universities. Clark initiated the UNC chapter almost a year ago, when she was a sophomore.
She was inspired to start the chapter because of her own loss and the lack of grief support at UNC.
"Even if we can save one life, that's one less child, parent, sibling, partner, friend or other family member who has to lose a loved one to an overdose," Clark said.
AMF at UNC-CH has around 30 undergraduate and graduate members who participate in supportive discussions, social outings and community service events. The group seeks to give students the opportunity to speak about their grief with others who have had similar losses.
“It's really helpful to have support and be surrounded by students who understand what you're going through," Clark said. "It just helps with that feeling of being supported and understood."
The group is aims to be an accessible grief-support environment for students and has no attendance or dues requirement and is open for anyone to join.
Catherine Vaughan, a junior and the vice president of outreach, has seen the club have a positive impact on the campus community by offering a sense of solidarity to grieving students.
“Grief is a really hard thing and knowing that you're not alone and that other people are experiencing it can really help mitigate those feelings,” Vaughan said.
Vaughan attended the Narcan building workshop and managed the outreach for the event.
“It feels great that lives are being saved with the work that’s being done with NC Harm Reduction," Vaughan said. "It feels great as an UNC AMF member that we are reaching members of the community, so they don't feel so alone in what they're going through.”
The Campus Y and Campus EMS are jointly hosting another Narcan workshop this Saturday at 10:00 a.m.
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