By John Baltzer, AOD Guy at the Counseling Center

Opiates are not only great medication for reducing extreme physical pain, but they are also the perfect solution for emotional pain, avoiding trauma, and creating euphoria…in the short term.

Many of us have known or loved someone who is addicted to or died from using opiates. Nationally, there were 56,000 overdose deaths in 2016, up 19% from the previous year. There were enough prescriptions written for opiates last year to fill a bottle for every adult in U.S.

Fentanyl overdoses are increasing rapidly. It is very cheap, 100 times stronger than morphine, and 30-50 times stronger than heroin. The 2017 bust in New York City contained enough Fentanyl to kill 32,000,000 people. Six zeros! Since street drugs are not FDA inspected, why wouldn’t a dealer increase their amount of product and profit by cutting it with cheap Fentanyl that is way stronger than heroin in the first place? Duh!?

A small bright spot in this dismal picture is that only a small portion of MU student’s abuse opiates.

Here is what students at MU have taught me.

  • Many students begin their relationship with opiates with a prescription for pain meds and think that they can control the “beast”. Some do so without a problem but self-medicating rarely works out well over the long run.
  • Some recreational users who only use Vicodin or Percocet occasionally, find that it quickly interferes with relationships, work, and academics.
  • Recreational users are at risk for an overdose or for having withdrawals including flu like symptoms, sometimes, after as little as a single weekend of use. Some use Suboxone, which will allow them to get to class and be ready to party again next weekend. “I just won’t use as much next time”…right?
  • Some folks figure that instead of snorting a $40 Oxy, “I can buy 5-8 bags of pure heroin for that much money.” Many begin injecting because it gets them more bang for their buck. Some of us would say this is insane, but remember… we are blessed with a brain that has not been high-jacked.

Narcan is available via the Millersville University Police department and our local emergency response teams. It is miraculous in its ability to bring overdose victims back from the brink of death. Narcan needs to be administered soon as possible. Some strains of Fentanyl are Narcan resistant and won’t help.

Our Responsible Action Policy (RAP) http://www.millersville.edu/services/judicialaffairs/files/ResponsibleActionPolicy.pdf applies to drugs, as well as to alcohol. Even if you are high or drinking underage when someone ODs, you will not be cited if you make the call for help and stay with them until help arrives.

Please pass the word…Addiction is a highly treatable disease. There is support, treatment and hope for addicts and help for those who love and care about them.

Please feel free to contact the AOD Guy at the Counseling Center at

John.Baltzer@Millersville.edu or call 717-871-7821

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