Stevens Community Medical Center becomes a registered NAP site

Even in our small community, we are not immune from the effects of the opioid epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of drug overdose deaths increased more than 16% from 2020 to 2021, over 75% of which involved an opioid. 

Naloxone, sometimes known by one brand name Narcan, is a critical tool in reversing opioid overdoses and saving lives, and now, it could be more readily available to aid in crisis situations.

The Stevens Community Medical Center (SCMC) is now a Naloxone Access Point (NAP.)

A NAP site is a publicly accessible pick-up site for naloxone, which is a lifesaving opioid overdose antidote. 

Personnel at SCMC are trained in the recognition and treatment of acute opioid overdose, and as a registered NAP site, SCMC can provide naloxone kits and fentanyl test strip kits to the community at no cost. 

“Our mission is Caring is our Reason for Being.  We want to do all we can to help prevent deaths from an overdose.  Opioids are a class of drugs used to treat moderate to severe pain.  Fentanyl and Heroin are in this class of drugs.  Per the CDC, illegally made and distributed fentanyl is on the rise in the US.  The Steve Rummler Hope Foundation made the process of becoming a Narcan Access Point (NAP) site easy.   They provide the NAP kits free of charge to us since we have committed to following their criteria.  Now anyone who is a current opioid user or is in contact with an opioid user can request a kit at any time by calling 320-589-7677 or coming to the hospital nursing station.   The only requirement is that they are willing to learn how to use the Narcan and the fentanyl test strips that are provided. Both items come with a QR code that can be scanned to watch an instructional video or there are written instructions.  We don’t need any names to provide a kit. Fentanyl test strips are included since they can detect the presence of fentanyl in all different kinds of drugs (cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, etc.) and drug forms (pills, powder, and injectables),” said SCMC Chief Nursing Officer Suzie Eklund in a statement to the Times.

Training courses that provide information and training for naloxone, as well as how to recognize an opioid overdose, are available for free online. The kits that will be available at SCMC will contain a QR code that will take the user directly to training and support resources.

A kit can be requested by calling the SCMC nursing station, or stopping by. There are criteria that need to be met in order to receive the kit, and requests will be reviewed by by a qualified medical provider trained in opioid overdose education. 

The person requesting the kit must be:

• A current opioid user, an individual with a history of opioid use, or someone with contact with opioid users;

• At risk for overdose or likelihood of contact with someone at risk;

• Able to understand and willing to learn the essential components of Overdose Prevention and Response and naloxone administration either by scanning the QR code on the kit bag or by reading the instruction card provided in the kit.

SCMC isn’t the only NAP site in Minnesota, and all NAP partners can be located on the statewide map that can be found on the Steve Rummler Hope Network website.

NAPs must be open to the public, and have regular hours of operation, and SCMC is open 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.

“The whole idea of being a NAP site is to help prevent barriers to saving a life.  First and foremost, we hope that people seek addiction treatment but if overdose occurs, Narcan can help save a life by reversing the effects of the opioid,” says Eklund, “ I hope that if a person feels he/she could benefit from having a kit available, they don’t hesitate to ask us for one.  If anyone has any questions, I can be reached at 589-7682. “

Thanks to Steve’s Law, both the person experiencing an overdose and the person seeking help have limited immunity from charges related to use and possession of drug. Good samaritan laws, like Steve’s Law, encourage bystanders to intervene in crisis situations. Oftentimes situations involving drug abuse can go from bad to worse because the fear of arrest hinders people from seeking help. A useful slogan to remember is, “Don’t run, call 911.”