Duquesne naloxone training, grant born from personal experience

Program helps train students to lessen impact of overdose crisis

HARRISBURG, Jan. 15 – A program at Duquesne University to help train students to administer naloxone and save the lives of those affected by the overdose epidemic began with a personal connection of one university student, state Rep. Sara Innamorato said.

A Duquesne University student, Ken Aquiline, was working as an intern in Innamorato’s office when he saw that grants were available for universities to help address the overdose crisis. With his own experience with addiction and recovery, Aquiline knew there was an opportunity to help others in the broader community.

After suggesting the idea to Don Accamando, director of the Office of Military and Student Affairs at the university, who put Aquiline in touch with other officials and helped develop a project proposal, Aquiline requested Innamorato’s office support the grant, which they did.

“As someone who knows firsthand the impact of the overdose crisis, I was more than happy to support Duquesne University’s application for this grant,” Innamorato said. “The overdose crisis impacts our college-aged citizens and returning veterans at alarming rates in Pennsylvania, and we need to be addressing this issue wherever and whenever possible.”

Last week, Duquesne University was one of 13 higher education institutions in the state awarded nearly $1 million to implement opioid prevention programs, which it began in November. Meanwhile, after finishing his course work at Duquesne, Aquiline was hired by Innamorato to help manage her district office in Lawrenceville.

“I am so proud of Ken’s dedication to our district office and communities,” Innamorato said. “It’s going to take all of us working together if we want to effectively end overdose deaths in Pennsylvania.”

For more information on Pennsylvania’s efforts to combat the overdose crisis, including county resources and treatment information, residents may visit https://www.pa.gov/guides/opioid-epidemic/.