270 -that is the number of lives saved by the Arkansas Naloxone Project, which provides first responders naloxone toolkits to reverse an opioid overdose. The best part of this statistic, aside from the lives saved, is that many of those survivors have either attended or attending substance abuse treatment facilities. Many of these survivors are now in recovery.
“Some feel that these people are unworthy of being saved,” Arkansas Drug Director Kirk Lane said. “It is important to understand that – If they are alive, there is a chance of recovery. We have met several of these saved individuals, and members of their family, and found that they are now in the process of going through recovery treatment because of these events. We hope that this project will reduce our fatality deaths during this epidemic, and help those with a substance abuse disorder a path towards recovery.”
3,640 – is the number of naloxone toolkits distributed to first responder agencies (and 7 school nurses) throughout the state provided by the Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) through a grant provided by the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas, Office of Arkansas Drug Director, and the Department of Human Services -Division of Aging, Adult, & Behavioral Health Services. Each naloxone toolkit recipient receives naloxone training through CJI. Among the items contained in a Narcan kit are two Naloxone nasal sprays, an opioid antagonist used to reverse the effects of an opioid-induced overdose.
“Our goal is to get the life-saving naloxone kits in the hands of all first responders in the state, which includes them completing a training program,” Lane said. “In the near future, we also want to distribute naloxone kits to various people in society. When a life is saved with naloxone, there is hope for recovery.”
Though it should be used in an emergency situation (a suspected opioid overdose), Naloxone has no effect on non-opioid overdoses. Naloxone is available for purchase at some pharmacies in Arkansas.
To reduce the morbidity and mortality of opioid overdoses in Arkansas, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has a standing order [Arkansas Code § 17-92- 101(16)] allowing Arkansas-licensed pharmacists to initiate naloxone therapy including ordering, dispensing and/or administering naloxone, along with any necessary supplies for administration, to eligible persons who are at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose, or who are family members, friends, or others who are in a position to assist a person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose.
Arkansas is 1 of 40 states exercising the Good Samaritan Overdose Immunity Laws, which encourages people to seek out medical attention for an overdose or for follow-up care after naloxone has been administered. These laws generally provide immunity from arrest, charge or prosecution for certain controlled substance possession and paraphernalia offenses when a person who is either experiencing an opiate-related overdose or observing one calls 911 for assistance or seeks medical attention. For more information: http://www.ncsl.org/research/civil-and-criminal-justice/drug-overdose-immunity-good-samaritan-laws.aspx
****Be sure to checkout and download the Narcansas App here which has step by step instructions on how to administer naloxone. The nARcansas app is a free opioid overdose resource containing tools that will help you administer the drug naloxone in the moment of an opioid overdose and provide steps on how to save a person’s life in the event of an opioid overdose.