The fentanyl epidemic has been a major cause for concern for both adults and youth hailing from a variety of communities throughout the United States. Recent trends demonstrate that most overdose deaths arise due to an abuse of opioids.

As a participant in the Opioid Prevention Education Project (OPEP), BQLI AHEC has made great strides in educating high school and college students from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds on the tremendous risks associated with misuse of such substances through trainings and tabling sessions. Trainings provided contextual information on opioids and signs of overdose in addition to the proper procedure of administering treatment, specifically naloxone, to individuals experiencing an opioid overdose.

Partnering with Family Services Network of New York Inc. (FSNNY:, BQLI AHEC successfully delivered 15 trainings and two tabling sessions, reaching 494 students. In one instance, BQLI AHEC delivered five naloxone trainings in one day at the International High School for Health Sciences, reaching approximately 100 students.

Some of the schools at which these trainings have occurred include Clara Barton High School (Brooklyn), Maxwell CTE High School (Brooklyn), Westbury High School (Long Island), Epic High School-South (Queens), and the Institute for Health Professions at Cambria Heights (Queens).

Following completion of the training, students were provided with a naloxone kit for future use and issued a certificate that permits them to administer naloxone. Students asked insightful questions ranging from potential risks associated with incorrectly administering naloxone to the signs of an opioid overdose. Students were very engaged and expressed surprise at the large number of opioid overdoses in the United States and the surprisingly small quantity of certain drugs necessary to induce an overdose.

In addition to educating a variety of students, the OPEP trainings and tabling sessions have been instrumental in strengthening BQLI AHEC’s relationships with schools located throughout its coverage area and have laid the foundation for collaborations. 

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