In fall 2022, CU Denver launched its first-ever Public Health Response team, led by Director Lacey Klindt, who previously oversaw the campus’ contact-tracing and check-in station operations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of Klindt’s current role is to help the campus community plan, identify, and make decisions related to public health challenges—including COVID-19, the seasonal flu, student immunizations, and more. Public health, she says, touches every part of the university’s 2030 Strategic Plan and is essential to fulfilling our mission as a higher education institution and a community partner.
Below are three public health updates for our campus community.
Fentanyl-Prevention Resources Now Available on Campus
Pharmaceutical fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is only approved for treating severe pain and typically 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, the CDC reports. Recently, cases of fentanyl-related overdoses and deaths in the U.S. have been linked to illegally made fentanyl that has been mixed into counterfeit pills (Oxycodone, Xanax, Adderall) and/or powders (cocaine). In Colorado alone, this type of fentanyl was responsible for more than 1,200 deaths in 2021, more than double the number of people who died in 2019, according to Colorado Public Radio.
To help combat this nationwide public health crisis, on March 29, the FDA approved Narcan, a nasal spray that can reverse opioid overdoses, for over-the-counter sales. Additionally, law enforcement agencies, harm reduction agencies, school districts, and some units of local government can access naloxone, a different medication that rapidly reverses the effects of opioid overdose, through a state bulk purchasing agreement at no cost.
CU Denver’s Public Health Response team is using Colorado’s House Bill 1326 (the Fentanyl Accountability and Prevention Act), along with the Good Samaritan Law, to help prevent fentanyl and opioid overdoses and save lives by providing equitable access to resources and education to our campus community. This spring, emergency naloxone will be placed in emergency AED cabinets across campus (on CU Denver property) and Lynx Central, and regular trainings will be offered for students, faculty, and staff to learn more about naloxone and how to safely use it. In the coming weeks, infographics and posters with more information on this public health initiative will be shared across campus.
For more information, contact Klindt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Ends May 11
The federal Public Health Emergency (PHE) for COVID-19 will end on May 11. In general, COVID-19 services, including vaccines, tests, and treatments, will not be impacted. For more information, please read a news release from the Department of Health and Human Services.
CU Denver’s Public Health Response Team and the Health Center at Auraria encourage campus community members to continue to monitor for symptoms, stay up-to-date on vaccines, practice effective hand washing, and stay home if you are feeling sick.
Public Health Resources
The Public Health Response Team supports campus public health, wellness, and health equity. Its mission is to plan for, identify, and respond to emerging public health challenges for our campus and the surrounding area. To stay up-to-date and learn more about the team’s initiatives, visit the Public Health Response website.