Students for Opioid Solutions, an organization founded by Gerald Fraas and co-founded by Jonah Wendt, is dedicated to the vision of “reducing the number of opioid deaths on college campuses to zero.” Gerald Fraas, a senior at the University of Alabama majoring in political science and economics, is an Eagle Scout from Troop 8 in Hartford, SD, in Sioux Council. He is a Vigil Honor member of Tetonwana Lodge #105, served as section chief for Section C1-A, and is a recipient of the Founder’s and Centurion Awards.
Opioids are drugs that include the illegal drug heroin and legal prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl, and others. According to the Students for Opioid Solutions website, 33,091 deaths resulted from this drug, which is a 23 percent increase from the years of 2014 and 2015. This reality, combined with his passion of being a cheerful servant, is what caused Gerald to spearhead this effort after receiving a text that a close friend had died due to an opioid overdose. And this death, like all opioid deaths, was a preventable one according to Fraas. “Neither his roommate nor his residential advisor were able to recognize the symptoms. He had been a victim of his own actions and a crippling addiction, but also a victim of a lack of knowledge and preparation about an issue affecting millions of Americans.” The worst part of all is that opioid deaths are treatable with Naloxone, the antidote for opioid overdoses. When administered soon after an overdose, it will reverse and block the overdose. This medication can be easily administered and included in first aid kits. The problem is that it is not required by colleges to have this medication that can save thousands of lives.
Students for Opioid Solutions overall goal is to have all colleges implement legislation that protects students from this horrible epidemic. The organization contacts those who advocate their cause to push either student government or school administration to passing some sort of policy that addresses this problem. Their mission is to prevent as many deaths as possible by providing more training to staff and requiring Narcan be carried. Additionally, they provide legal support for people who are facing this issue in any way, whether it is them personally or a friend.
Gerald attributes many of the leadership skills he uses to run the organization to Scouting and the Order of the Arrow, especially during his time as section chief . Many of the organization’s volunteers were people he met at National Camp School or people he worked with at his local summer camp. This is proof of the lasting impact Scouting relationships can have. Students for Opioid Solutions already has a presence at 77 college campuses spanning over 33 states and continues their efforts to spread their message and further their mission across the country everyday.