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Opioid overdose rescue kits must be present on public school campuses, according to a new law



Little Rock, Arkansas – Last week, Governor Sanders signed a bill to combat the opioid epidemic in the state’s public educational institutions into law.

An opioid overdose emergency kit must be present on campus at all state-funded two- and four-year colleges and public high schools, according to the law.

According to the law, the kit must always be accessible and visible so that it can be used in an emergency.

Little Rock School District’s Director of Health Services, Jacqueline McEuen, stated that they are ready.

“The kits are brightly-colored red, the new kits that we have received,” said McEuen. “They have gloves in there and we have two doses of Narcan to be able to be administered intranasally through the nose.”

According to McEuen, the majority of the campuses in the school district already had the kits installed.

“We started back in 2018,” said McEuen. “We have had them on our secondary campuses, our high schools, and our middle schools and we have started having more interest in the elementary side as well. We have started getting some of them in our elementary schools as well. Not all of them but that is my goal for next year to try to have it on each campus.”

The University of Arkansas in Little Rock’s Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Sharon Downs, stated that they began using these kits in September of last year.

“We have installed them in all of the residence halls so north, south, east, west, and village,” said Downs. “They have been installed and Narcan is now in them. The staff have gone through some training on how to use the device.”

McEuen declared that she supports the new legislation.

“It is very important, not just for high schools but middle schools and elementary schools as well,” said McEuen. “You have multiple people coming into your schools and you don’t know where they have come from, their background so it is just important to have that on campus if needed.”

Downs said that she would have to concur.

“College-aged students are highly likely to be experiencing an overdose of narcotics,” said Downs. “It is a great relief to me to know that you can just go to a certain place in a certain building and get the medicine to somebody to save their life in just a few seconds.”

According to Downs, other universities in the region have already put in the kits on their campuses or are in the process of doing so.

Beginning on January 1, 2024, the law will be fully implemented.