Day of the dead: SRJC students honor those affected by overdose


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Pills Spilling from Bottle

Brandon McCapes, Staff Writer

One hundred and forty four empty chairs. That’s how many people die every day from an overdose. To raise awareness of the dangers of drug and alcohol overdose, Students 4 Recovery and the PEERS Coalition set up on the quad outside Bertolini Hall on Aug. 31. Staged on International Overdose Awareness Day, the empty chairs represent the number of daily deaths nationwide.

Glued to the empty chairs were signs that read “Naloxone (Narcan) Saves Lives” and photos of individuals lost to overdoses. Club members offered gray ribbons to passing students as signs of solidarity and also gave them the opportunity to write the name of a loved one they had lost to overdose and place it on the chairs.

Drug abuse and addiction are a substantial problem in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County, with overdose fatalities on the rise, according to the Press Democrat.

The students at the event think overdose is a concern to the Santa Rosa Junior College community and needs to be addressed.

“Many of our students aren’t aware that prescription pain medications and their chemical cousin, heroin, are the leading cause of preventable death for Americans under the age of 50,”  said Ryan Sansome, vice president of Student Health and club member of Students 4 Recovery.

Terri Musser of the PEERS Coalition agrees that overdose is a serious risk to collegiate populations. “Overdose. It can just happen,” Musser said.

Many services are available to students struggling with addiction such as PEERS, Students 4 Recovery and the Student Health Services department.