HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – As we approach International Overdose Awareness Day, communities across western Massachusetts are educating people on the overdose reversal drug ‘Naloxone,’ also known as ‘Narcan.’

Narcan reverses the effects of opioids like heroin and fentanyl, and experts say it is safe and easy to administer. “International Overdose Awareness Day is an annual opportunity to recognize the importance of recovery, prevention, and support,” says Kimberley Lee of MiraVista Behavioral Health Center.

So far this year here in Massachusetts there have been 522 confirmed and estimated opioid related overdose deaths, and local health clinics want you to learn how to prevent the next one from happening. Mira Vista Behavioral Health Center in Holyoke, doing just that, by becoming a free Narcan distribution site, to make the overdose reversal drug accessible for people who need it the most.

Lee adds, “They can simply walk in the front door of MiraVista, ask for Narcan, they will be asked two brief questions, and receive an instructional card on how to administer it, they will receive a box free of charge with two doses inside.”

If you suspect someone is overdosing, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health says, first, call 911, and say someone isn’t breathing and “Think its an overdose.”

Next, administer the Narcan, by placing the tip into one nostril of a person’s nose, and pushing the pump to release the entire dose.

If there’s no response, keep giving doses every 3 minutes, changing nostrils each time, Also, make sure their mouth is clear when giving breaths and CPR.

Stay until help arrives, the Good Samaritan law in Massachusetts protects a person having an overdose and the people who help.

Northampton Lawyer, James B. Winston, tells 22News, “If they are acting in good faith, trying to help someone and even if it doesn’t work out, or if they don’t do something quite right, they are protected by Massachusetts laws.”

MiraVista has a step-by-step tutorial of how to use Narcan properly in emergencies.

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