HCN News & Notes

MiraVista Releases Video Explaining How to Administer Life-saving Narcan

HOLYOKE — Do you know how to reverse an opioid overdose?

In a five-minute, easy-to-understand video, Cindy Chaplin, night nursing supervisor at MiraVista Behavioral Health Center, explains how to administer the life-saving drug naloxone that is available from MiraVista in nasal spray form under the brand name Narcan. Click here to watch the video.

“With the approach of International Overdose Awareness Day, August 31, we asked Cindy Chaplin, one of our nurses with many years of experience with patients in recovery, to explain in simple terms how to administer Narcan and potentially save a life,” said Kimberley Lee, MiraVista’s chief of Creative Strategy and Development. “MiraVista has a continuum of outpatient substance-use recovery services that include the distribution of free Narcan to anyone considered at high risk for an opioid overdose or anyone knowing someone who might be.”

Knowing how to use naloxone to reverse an opioid overdose could be said to be as important today as knowing how to do chest compressions to maintain blood flow during cardiac arrest or how to administer blows and thrusts to dislodge a throat or windpipe blockage that is causing someone to choke.

This is because the number of U.S. overdose deaths has quintupled since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with opioids the main cause. Preliminary state data shows that there were 2,310 confirmed opioid‐related deaths in 2022, and some 522 confirmed and estimated opioid-related overdose deaths here for the first three months of this year. According to the CDC, data shows that a high percentage of such overdoses happen in the home or with someone else present.

Chaplin explains in the video how naloxone “knocks off” and replaces opioids attached to receptors in the brain to stop an overdose. She also explains how to recognize signs of an opioid overdose and why there is no harm in administering Narcan, even if the overdose is caused by another substance.

Through legislative and funding measures, Massachusetts has made naloxone, a medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since 1971 to reverse opioid overdose and temporarily restore breathing, more accessible to the general public.

MiraVista recently became a state-approved site to distribute Narcan for free and without insurance. It is available from the receptionist in the hospital’s front lobby and comes in a box of two doses.

MiraVista provides magnets in English and Spanish that also outline step-by-step how to administer the nasal spray when someone is found unresponsive from a suspected opioid overdose.