On March 29, Melrose Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator Kathy Guevara and Police Chief Michael Lyle will host a community meeting about Narcan, the drug that can reverse the effects of opiates—potentially saving the life of someone who is overdosing.
The meeting will be held from 6-8 p.m. at the Milano Senior Center, 201 West Foster St.
Guevara will discuss the use and the limitations of Narcan, and she plans to have someone who has actually been revived by the drug discuss what that’s like—and what it’s like to be given Narcan when the person is not overdosing. “People are often afraid to give someone Narcan,” she says. “They think, ‘What if I give it to them and they don’t need it?'” The answer is that it won’t do any harm. “There are no side effects,” she says.
Narcan only works with opiates, so it won’t help someone who is suffering from alcohol poisoning, and while it will revive someone who is overdosing, the effects are temporary. “You still need intervention,” she says. “You can’t just think ‘I administered Narcan so I don’t have to call 911.’You still need medical intervention. It’s short term.” In addition, more than one dose may be required to revive someone who has taken synthetic opiates, such as Fentanyl. “It’s very potent, and it binds very tightly to the receptors,” she explains.
At the community meeting, Guevara will offer a training in how to use Narcan and will distribute information about the drug and how to obtain it. The bottom line, she says, is this: “It saves somebody’s life, and hopefully it gives them a chance to get to the point where they can attain recovery.”