Sandler Center continues to strive for drug education after award-winning PSA video

Second place finishers in the 2022 Campus PSA Video as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Red Ribbon Week, The Sandler Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education, operating under the Dean of Student’s Office, honors their recognition as they implement new Narcan training initiatives for the University community.
The Sandler Center's team of peer educators involved in the award-winning PSA.

The annual Red Ribbon campaign by the Drug Enforcement Agency dedicates itself to promoting the importance of illicit drug use prevention. This Red Ribbon Week, student staff from the Sandler Center crafted their own PSA video centering on the dangers of mixing substances with alcohol. Their efforts led to a $3,000 grant to support campus efforts as they placed second in the nationwide contest.

“As a harm-reduction-based organization, we wanted to offer students safety measures behind illicit drug use while also engaging them in a fun way. The PSA video contest allowed the Center to spread our message throughout the University community,” said Kareena Patel, a junior studying finance and accounting and a peer educator for the Sandler Center.

The video, titled Substance Speed Dating: Some Things Just Don’t Mix, featured a student acting as alcohol “speed dating” various drugs. The characterization of the illicit substances helped showcase the dangers of drugs and their harmful reactions to alcohol.

“Our team of peer educators wanted to move past fear-tactics to create a video that creatively informs students,” added Patel.

Reflecting their commitment to drug safety on campus, the Center’s Narcan training sessions continue this spring semester. Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a life-saving drug used to reverse an opioid overdose in emergency situations. Responding to students who wished to increase its availability on campus, the Center chose to collaborate with URecovery, Student Health Service, and Miami Recovery Project to present a comprehensive training program for the University community.

“With the increasing problems of drug lacing and opioid use, the more students who have Narcan and know how to use it, the safer campus can be,” said Abi Schcolnik, a sophomore studying international studies and economics and a peer educator for the Center.

Meeting monthly, the training sessions will teach participants how to spot signs of crisis, how to administer Narcan, and provide free Narcan upon completion. One session will partner with the Association of Greek Letter Organizations to promote drug safety within the Greek community. To register for the first session on February 16th and view the full schedule of trainings, visit here.

“Through our programs, we strive to empower students to have fun while also making responsible choices,” said Rachel Perse, assistant dean of students and director of the Sandler Center.

 To stay updated on the Center’s programming this month, be sure to follow them on Instagram.