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Gov. Sanders signs legislation requiring Narcan rescue kits in colleges and high schools



Little Rock, Arkansas – Teenagers are now substantially more likely to overdose on opioids than they were in the past.

The CDC reports a 94% rise in opioid overdose mortality among teenagers aged 14 to 18 between 2019 and 2020.

With the signing of House Bill 1514 on Thursday, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders established a legal requirement that Naloxone or Narcan kits be readily available and clearly marked at public high schools and state-supported institutions of higher learning.

“I’m very excited that a law has been enacted to make it mandatory,” Kimberly Ashley-Pauley said.

Joshua, Ashley-Pauley’s kid, died on May 12th, 2014, after an opioid overdose. According to Kimberly, her baby had “4 different types of opioids” in his body.

Because of Joshua’s passing, the Joshua Ashley-Pauley Act was created, and it now grants Arkansans who seek treatment for an overdose immunity.

Joshua overdosed, but those who were with him didn’t call for aid because they were worried about getting in legal trouble.

Now, people who attempt to help someone they think to be overdosing are shielded from being detained, accused of carrying an illegal narcotic, or prosecuted if they violate their parole, restraining order, probation, or pretrial release while doing so.

“Back then, even if they had called 911, first responders did not carry Narcan. The only one that carried Narcan at that time was EMTs.” Ashley-Pauley said.

Carrying Narcan is now a requirement for all first responders. Kimberly is pleased to see how far the state has progressed as she looks through pictures of her kid.

The superintendent of the Jacksonville North Pulaski School District, Dr. Jeremy Owoh, says he plans to teach several of his employees in the use of Narcan.

“Those are some of the things you never want to have to use, but you also want to have it in case you need it,” Owoh said.

Only school nurses and resource officers are required to carry it at all times, according to House Bill 1514.

At Jacksonville High School, Owoh says they have 1,200 students and it’s important many are trained because the “nurse can only be in so many places.”

The bill mandates that usage of the opioid overdose rescue kit must be reported to the Department of Human Services right away.

The start date for this is January 1, 2024.

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