In my neck of the woods there is a crisis in the use of opioids. Hundreds of people in Metro Vancouver have died so far this year from opioid poisoning. It is so serious that my health authority has been teaching all of its staff how to recognize opioid poisoning by administering intermuscular injections of naloxone to reverse the effect of opioid poisoning.

This is how I had the opportunity to learn how to give intermuscular injections of naloxone with:

  • A real needle
  • Real naloxone
  • A real sponge mounted on a plastic stand that is sufficiently hard to simulate real flesh of a real thigh or deltoid muscle.

The object was to show us what it was like to inject the medicine into a real poisoning victim.

The instructor passed out the Naloxone kits. Each contained 3 sterile needles wrapped in packaging like a screwdriver from Home Depot that are impossible to open without a power Swiss army knife, 3 ampules of naloxone , and a small polyethylene thimble to “snap” open the ampule of naloxone.

“We’ll start with the ampule,” said Scott, the instructor. “Stick the thin end of the ampule into the snapper and snap it off. It should be fairly easy,” Scott said.

“Grrrrr,” I said

“Mike, you have it in the wrong end of the snapper.”

“Oh,” I said

“Snap,” the ampule said.

I put it on the table and it leaked naloxone all over the satisfaction questionnaire.

I cracked open another. “Snap,” it said. I set it on the questionnaire next to the first one. This time I didn’t spill it.

Now, the needle, Said Scott. Hold the package from the top and peel the backing off the package just like a banana. Mine was some banana. That backing wasn’t coming off without a fight. Luckily I had my Swiss Army knife on my key chain, and after a few strategic stabs I was able to peel it out – just like a banana.

“Now the needle is really sharp,” said Scott. Be careful it to stab …


“… yourself with it.

We were then taught to put the needle into the ampule, squirt a little out of it to prevent air embolism, jab it into the sponge, and press the plunger to discharge the payload or naloxone.

“Keep pressing the plunger until you hear a click,” said Scott. “That will be the sound of the needle retracting.”

Unfortunately, I was more interested in process than language, and I thought I heard ‘detaching ‘ rather than ‘retracting.’ That had me crawling around the floor looking for a detached needle.

If was able to perform artificial respiration at the same time. My sponge would be well on its way to recovery. Maybe I can give injections after all.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Ain’t no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is a newly retired ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a former member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at  or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you an effective resume makeover at competitive rates






  1. energywriter Says:

    Oh gosh, Mike. It sounds like you are channeling me – klutz of the year. sd

  2. mikebroderick Says:

    We should have a race!

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