Texas State students stand against opioid addiction


Students sign their commitment to refuse opioids, Wednesday Apr. 3, in the Quad.

Photo courtesy of NOpioids

Laura Figi

The opioid crisis has remained a hot button issue nationwide, and Texas State students are taking notice and action.

NOpioids is the result of a MC4320 class project in which groups of public relations students were assigned a topic to do a campaign which the main focus was to aid and spread awareness on the opioid crisis by educating students on how to best dispose of their leftover prescriptions as opposed to selling, saving or giving them away.

The group spent three days on The Quad collecting pledges from students to dispose of their leftover medications responsibly; they finished their campaign by hosting a free yoga class April 5 in association with Shine On Yoga.

Group members included PR majors Rachel Cooper, Chris Harris, Whitney Chiu and Ammon Bakarri-O. Other topics from the class included human trafficking and veterans’ affairs.

Harris said one of the bigger problems the group found when conducting their research and talking to students on campus was how many students were unaware of the opioid crisis, or lack of knowledge on opioids.

“It definitely opened my eyes just to how big the issue is,” Harris said. “I wasn’t expecting (the results) because it seems like such a far away issue. You hear about it on the news and think ‘well that doesn’t really affect me’ but it does, especially in non-traditional students.”

NOpioids created a Facebook and a Twitter page, where students are encouraged to use the hashtag #justsayNOpioids to pledge if they couldn’t make it to the booth on The Quad. Additionally, both platforms have educational graphics with facts and how to dispose of various medications.

Cooper said she was surprised by how many people approached their tent and were willing to learn about opioids.

“Having conversations with people was really interesting and impactful for students,” Cooper said.

As of right now, NOpioids will not continue as an organization, as most of the group is set to graduate soon. However, Cooper said she thinks it would be great if someone were to pick up the campaign and turn it into something real.

Shine On Yoga founder and instructor Teo Whitmore said he loves partnering with organizations on campus, and wishes they could be involved more often.

“(Opioids) are an issue facing not only adults, but teenagers and students as well,” Whitmore said. “It’s one of those unseen problems, so raising awareness is really beneficial. The fact they’re helping to educate students and take a stand on that issue and move forward is great.”

Unused medication can be turned in to a police station or collection center at any time. However, the next National Drug Take Back Day will occur April 27, and there will be centers across the country to collect unused drugs.

More information can be found by visiting @txstNOpioids on Twitter, on Facebook at facebook.com/txstNOpioids or takebackday.dea.gov.

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