Go to content, skip over navigation


More Pages

Go to content, skip over visible header bar
Home News Features Arts & Entertainment Sports OpinionAbout Contact Advertise

Note about Unsupported Devices:

You seem to be browsing on a screen size, browser, or device that this website cannot support. Some things might look and act a little weird.

The Bowdoin Public Health Club cultivates safer communities with naloxone training

February 9, 2024

Riley Nelson
PUBLIC NEED FOR PUBLIC HEALTH: The Bowdoin Public Health Club combines drug abuse education, community partnership with Maine Access Points and practical training with its Narcan (naloxone) certification program.

On Thursday, The Bowdoin Public Health Club (BPHC), aligning with their mission to educate and provide for Bowdoin and its greater community, organized Bowdoin’s second naloxone workshop. The workshop participants left with certification for Narcan (a brand of naloxone) administration and a deeper understanding of substance abuse in Maine.

Naloxone is a powerful treatment for opioid overdoses, as it rapidly reverses the drug’s effects to provide immediate relief. Naloxone is not harmful in the event that an overdose is misdiagnosed.

The BPHC’s recent naloxone workshop is just one example of the club’s involvement in public health education and community service.

The BPHC works alongside Greater Brunswick community organizations to connect students with local volunteer opportunities. Hilary Eslinger, a representative from the educational organization Maine Access Points, was invited to lead the workshop’s discussion. Eslingler spoke about her own experiences combatting the devastating effects of drug abuse throughout the state. The BPHC chose to work with Maine Access Points because of the organization’s focus on harm reduction—a key component of public health.

“Harm reduction is the idea of mitigating the negative consequences of drug use. People are going to use drugs. Rather than trying to stop them by putting them behind bars, [the goal of] harm reduction is to educate them on how to protect themselves,” BPHC leader Jared Lynch ’24 said. “It’s about treating people with respect and giving them the resources they need.”

The scope of public health is broad, and the leaders of the BPHC use this freedom to take on multiple community challenges. Last year, the department of Gender Violence Prevention and Health Education (GVPHE) held the first student naloxone workshop. When Ephraim Boamah ’25, another leader of the BPHC, learned that GVPHE did not have plans to host the workshop again, he saw the perfect opportunity for the BPHC to get involved.

The timing of this naloxone workshop coincides with Bowdoin’s consideration of distributing Narcan across campus. With the possibility of Narcan being made available in residence halls and college offices, Boamah wanted to make this year’s workshop more hands-on than the previous one. His goal was for every participant to leave confident in their ability to administer Narcan in a crisis. In contrast with last year’s workshop that focused on instructor demonstrations, participants this year got to inject Narcan into oranges and practice with the Narcan nasal spray.

In planning the naloxone workshop, Boamah reached out to the Bowdoin Underrepresented in Medical Professions (BUMP) club to engage more students.

“We get to interact with other people and really see their humanity. It emphasizes how health really is impacted by so many things other than just somebody’s biological makeup,” Boamah explains.

The community outreach and public service focuses of the naloxone workshop are present throughout all of the BPHC’s projects and events. Through the BPHC, Bowdoin students volunteer with dementia patients, cook meals for food insecure families and work in hospital emergency departments. Through the club’s other events like volunteer programming with the elderly at Bath Brunswick Respite Care or sorting food with Midcoast Hunger Prevention, the BPHC hopes to reach people of all ages, genders and backgrounds with their events.

“The BPHC is for students who aren’t just interested in the hospital setting or, even if they are, who want to learn what [healthcare] looks like outside of volunteering or shadowing in a hospital,” BPHC leader Sam Koegler ’26 said.

The club is composed of students with a wide range of majors and interests with the common interest of hoping to get off campus and help others in the community.

“It’s the humanity of medicine,” Lynch said. “[T]here is a Bowdoin bubble I find more so than I realized when I first got here. I feel like being able to see who’s out in the community and to also interact with them—have conversations—is really, really important.”


Before submitting a comment, please review our comment policy. Some key points from the policy:

  • No hate speech, profanity, disrespectful or threatening comments.
  • No personal attacks on reporters.
  • Comments must be under 200 words.
  • You are strongly encouraged to use a real name or identifier ("Class of '92").
  • Any comments made with an email address that does not belong to you will get removed.

Leave a Reply

Any comments that do not follow the policy will not be published.

0/200 words