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A proposed Arkansas law would install overdose response kits on all campuses of public high schools and colleges



Conway, Arkansas – Drug overdoses are a scourge that Arkansas has been dealing with for years, and now the state legislature is acting.

If passed, a new house measure would mandate that all state institutions and secondary schools have an on-campus overdose rescue kit.

“It does make me feel safer having it around just in case,” UCA student Hanna Bryant said.

The state’s overdose deaths are being addressed by a group of legislators in Arkansas.

“I’m ecstatic about this house bill, I think this is needed just like AED boxes are,” UCA Program Director for Addiction Studies Dr. Stephanie Rose said.

A new house measure would mandate overdose rescue kits on campus for all public high schools and state institutions, although UCA is ahead of the curve on this.

The residential buildings, the student center, and locations like the library all have naloxone kits available.

“So we look at these overdose rates and how they exceeded homicide rates and we are going to put our student’s safety first,” Rose said.

Bryant, a university student, claimed that having these kits makes her feel more secure.

“It’s very useful to have Narcan just as an option, I think it’s really important if you ever needed to use it that we have the availability,” Bryant said.

According to Arkansas Drug Takeback, 146 overdose deaths occurred in Pulaski County alone in 2021.

College-age students are among the age groups with the highest overdose rates, according to data from 2020 collected by the Arkansas Department of Health.

“You see all in the news about teens, kids, adults dying, especially people around the college ages, and even high schoolers I just think it’s really sad,” Bryant said.

“Everybody deserves a second chance at life,” Rose said.


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