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Nursing school student organization hosts Purple Gala for opioid crisis awareness

Nov 14, 2017

The Ohio University BSN Organization held the inaugural Purple Gala on Tuesday, Nov. 28 in the Baker Center Ballroom. The event featured guest speakers presenting information on overdose resuscitation and prevention. 

“The whole aim of community nursing is to look at the root cause and think upstream, so we’re looking at how to educate the public,” said Ty Tracy, president of the group. “How do you spot an overdose? What can you do as a bystander? I think we’re at a point now where we have to inform people what they can do in that moment.”

Proceeds from the gala will be donated to Women for Recovery, which provides assistance for women in early recovery from substance abuse and is looking in the coming months to open Serenity Grove, an Athens-area transitional home for women. It will be modeled after successful local efforts providing transitional living for men.

The gala caps off the group’s activities aimed at bringing awareness to the opioid epidemic. In addition to heavy social media engagement, chalking and tabling at Grover Center, Baker Center and the Alumni gate, the BSN Organization hosted “Shining Light on the Opioid Epidemic” on Wednesday, Nov. 16. The group lit Scripps Amphitheater with the cause’s signature purple light.

“Empowering our students with prevention tools allows them to be stewards in both this community and their home communities,” said Professor Eliza Harper.

Discussions about the need to call attention to opioid abuse started late last school year, Tracy said, in Professor Harper’s class on community nursing, when it emerged as an impactful event the seniors of OHIO’s BSN Organization could put on. He added that organizers hope to leverage the unique voice that nurses have in community health discussions.

“We’re the ones who are with the patients the whole time, so we’re the ones who are getting a good sense of how the patients are tolerating their pain and spot someone overusing,” Tracy said.

An Athens News story about the gala is available here.