The students were from different schools at Columbia University, traveling in different areas of the city. They didn’t know each other. But all recently found themselves in the same situation: bystanders staring at someone who has passed out, asking themselves: Do I grab for the naloxone I’ve just learned how to use and step in?
Sonalee Rau was on her way to meet friends for a day of apple picking in upstate New York this fall. She was about to enter the Metro-North Train Station at 125th Street in East Harlem when she saw a small group surrounding a man lying unconscious on the sidewalk.
“I heard a woman yell, ‘I think it’s an overdose,’” said Rau, a master’s student in health policy and management at the Mailman School. “The naloxone kit I’d been carrying for three weeks was hooked to my purse. I knew there wasn’t much time.”