From the distribution of 3,300 Narcan kits to first responder agencies throughout Arkansas, 91 lives have been saved since Jan. 1, 2018. 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,” Arkansas Drug Director Kirk 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.”

The 1,300 Narcan kits were provided by the Criminal Justice Institute through a grant provided by the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas.

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.