UWL to install Narcan boxes across campus


UW-Eau Claire Narcan box. Image retrieved from WQOW.com.

Jenasea Hameister, General Assignment Reporter

On Monday, Oct. 24, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse will be installing Narcan boxes around the campus. UWL Police Chief Allen Hill said that he became aware of the Narcan program last year, as it is a part of the UW Health System and Wisconsin Voices for Recovery. 

Chief Hill said he was confident in the Narcan program in response to the increase in fentanyl use in La Crosse County. “It’s better to be proactive than reactive,” he said. 

Every officer in UWL Police Services has been fully trained in using Narcan. This training includes using naloxone nasal spray and learning to detect the signs of a possible opioid overdose. Additionally, residence hall staff members will have the option to receive training in Narcan use.

Chief Hill discussed the importance of the Narcan program on college campuses and said, “We see students that use drugs, and the possibility is there that they could possibly have an overdose. And the last thing we want to see is someone to lose their life.” He said that having these Narcan boxes available to those on campus will hopefully prevent opioid overdoses in the future and save lives.

UWL Police Services recently received a grant from the Department of Transportation to purchase safety goggles. These goggles, Chief Hill explained, will aid in furthering education on drug usage and overdose prevention on campus. The new goggles create the effect of being under the influence of both marijuana and opioids. Currently, there are officers assigned to all residence halls that work with each hall’s staff members to educate students on the effects of opioids.

If a student is reported or found experiencing an opioid overdose and UWL Polices Services reports to the scene, the student will not be penalized for the use of opioids. “Diversion is always an option, and we try to go the diversion route rather than through the court system to try to educate,” said Chief Hill, “The key to these things is to try to prevent them and [have] safety measures in place like Narcan is to educate.”

Diversion programs are designed to provide an alternative to being arrested and criminally charged. Click here for more information on UWL’s current alcohol and marijuana diversion programs.

“[Installing Narcan boxes at UWL] was a decision made by the administration, from the chancellor on down, that has concerns for the safety and security of our students, said Chief Hill, “So, know that the administration here cares about the student’s safety and security. And supports anything that we can do or bring in, that can add an extra layer of that protection.”

For more information on the Narcan program, contact UWL Police Chief Allen Hill at: [email protected].