HCN News & Notes

MiraVista Set to Recognize International Overdose Awareness Day

HOLYOKE — MiraVista Behavioral Health Center will hold a flag raising and illuminate its exterior purple on Thursday, Aug. 31 in honor of International Overdose Awareness Day.

First observed in 2001, the day commemorates those who have died from overdose. Its 2023 theme, “recognizing those people who go unseen,” honors those grieving the death of a loved one from overdose and those whose work brings them in contact with both fatal and non-fatal overdoses.

“Substance-use disorder affects the brain and interferes with an individual’s ability to control their behavior,” said Kimberley Lee, MiraVista’s chief of Creative Strategy and Development. “We are asking staff to wear purple for the day in solidarity with the global campaign’s message that every person’s life is valuable and no one with a substance-use disorder should be judged or stigmatized.”

MiraVista offers a continuum of outpatient recovery services that include medication-assisted treatment through its Opioid Treatment Program with same-day admission and free transportation, substance-use counseling, intensive day treatment programming (including sessions in the evening and in Spanish), and free Narcan that can reverse an opioid drug overdose.

Drug overdose deaths have risen fivefold in the U.S. over the past two decades, according to government data. More than 932,000 people have died since 1999 from a drug overdose. Opioids are currently the main driver of drug overdose fatalities, with some 68,630 opioid overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2020. This represents 74.8% of all drug overdose deaths — 91,799 — for that year. According to the data, there were 2,585 drug-overdose deaths in Massachusetts in 2021.

Click here to view a short video on how to administer Narcan by Cindy Chaplin, night Nursing supervisor at MiraVista Behavioral Health Center.