Stop an overdose, save a life

By Joe Higgins - Special to the Sentinel

ATHENS — Around the world, many people know of the Heimlich maneuver. Even if not trained, many also at least have cursory knowledge of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). In today’s society, it’s becoming more of a necessity that the public gain knowledge of yet another potentially lifesaving method: the administration of NARCAN.

Ohio University’s Sherleena Buchman, an assistant professor in the College of Health Sciences and Professions’ School of Nursing, helped create a NARCAN simulation along with an interprofessional team of students from the college. The simulation will debut on April 16 from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at Ohio University’s Grover Center, Room E218.

The goal is to make a real world impact by exposing people to the reality of what an opioid overdose looks like, how to react and how to administer the naloxone hydrochloride injection.

Buchman said this is the first such simulation she is aware of in an interprofessional environment that allows students from a variety of disciplines to participate. It is also the first time a student-developed simulation will be delivered to students from a range of disciplines. Students participating in the simulation are majoring in nursing, public health, dietetics, physical therapy, audiology, and speech-language pathology.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids killed more than 42,000 people in 2016 — more than any year prior on record. In 2014, nearly two million people in the country abused or were dependent on opioid medication and more than 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments each day for not using prescription opioids as prescribed.

“Anyone can encounter someone going through an overdose,” Buchman said. “Minutes can make all the difference.”

Students have previously used sophisticated manikins to practice providing NARCAN to an overdosing patient. Buchman said the practice has been invaluable but for the new simulation, human actors, called standardized patients, will be used.

Buchman and a team of six students developed a script for the simulation which may potentially reoccur as circumstances allow. Buchman said the goal is to make the simulation as real as possible to put students in a realistic frame of mind as they perform in the controlled environment.

By Joe Higgins

Special to the Sentinel

Joe Higgins is employed with Ohio University’s College of Health Sciences and Professions.

Joe Higgins is employed with Ohio University’s College of Health Sciences and Professions.