SADE, PHC, IFC present Narcan training to students

MSU students joined together in the Ostrander Auditorium on Wednesday night for a presentation on opioid overdose and Narcan use awareness, presented by Students for Alcohol and Drug Education (SADE), Panhellenic Council (PHC) and Interfraternity Council (IFC). 

With over 200 students in attendance, the presentation was given by Molly Kortuem — a certified peer support specialist for Beyond Brink — who provided free training in administering Narcan, an emergency opioid overdose medication, to someone experiencing an overdose. 

Narcan, which can reverse  the effects of an overdose, can be administered by injection or nasally. SADE students distributed free nasal Narcan to students, thanks to the grant Beyond Brink received to provide free Narcan to students. It is also highly recommended that Narcan be held at room temperature. 

Kortuem explained during the introduction of the presentation what the Minnesota Harm Reduction Team, an organization with a partnership with Beyond Brink, is. 

“The Minnesota Harm Reduction Team is a response team assisting individuals in 43 counties across the state of Minnesota with resources and support surrounding substance use, which include resource navigation, education and advocacy, peer recovery support, Narcan training and distribution,” Kortuem said. 

Before administering Narcan to someone, Kortuem suggests calling 911 beforehand as “EMS carries several doses of Narcan and you want to have them on the way to the patient.”

“This is a two dose spray. So if you can imagine if somebody is in an overdose, you would put it up there nostril and administer half the dose. And then wait two to three minutes to see if they come out of it. And then if they don’t come out of it, then you can administer the other dose,” Kortuem explained. 

Kortuem said Narcan medication won’t expire for three years. Some studies suggest Narcan will still be effective after 31 years. 

After the Narcan training, Kortuem shared her history with drug addiction, starting off at a young age. 

“I was a person who struggled with substance use disorder my whole life. I would say I started at a very young age around 16. It went from smoking cigarettes to smoking weed to drinking alcohol. And that was pretty much by the time I was up until the time I was 20 years old. And then at that time I continued to use. My whole life became consumed by it.” Kortuem said 

After 20 years of struggling with drug addiction, Kortuem explained how she was finally able to get sober for good. 

“About 20 months ago, I had a spiritual awakening and I got down on my knees and asked God for forgiveness. And I can’t really explain what all happened after that. Because it’s something that was very unbelievable, to me but to people also. And I went home to my parents. I would never have gone home. I was addicted fully but something was helping me. Something was helping assist me to bring me home,” Kortuem said. 

During her long journey of recovery, Kortuem was able to get a job at Brink Beyond and shared how it’s changed her life for the better. 

“It’s really given me purpose. And it’s really let me understand now that I went through all of that in my life, I can come out and help other people get out of the pit that they’re in and come back to life. That’s my main motto in life,” Kortuem said. 

For students and the surrounding Mankato community, Kortuem explains how important it is for students to be educated on opioid overdose and Narcan use and listed ways to spread awareness. 

“Social media. Keep talking about it. Join SADE. I think the more we talk about it and understand that it is a real issue. And also that if you aren’t struggling with substance use disorder. I can guarantee you that somebody you know is and so if we come together as a community and keep talking about it; keep talking to bring in resources out about it,” Kortuem said. 
For information on Beyond Brink and their resources, visit www.beyondbrink.com and for information on SADE, visit www.mnsu.edu/SADE

Write to Anahi Zuniga at anahi.zuniga@mnsu.edu

Header Photo: Minnesota State Students gathered in the Ostrander Auditorium Wednesday evening to learn about opioid overdose and Narcan use awareness. The presentation was put together by the Students for Alcohol and Drug Education (SADE), Panhellenic Council (PHC) and Interfraternity Council (IFC), and more than 200 students came to watch. (Alexis Darkow/The Reporter)

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