ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — A bill moving through the Arkansas legislature would require overdose rescue kits to be mounted to the walls of all public school campuses and university campuses. The kits would include drugs like Naloxone, which helps people recover from an opioid overdose.
Andrea Rollins, the nurse at Farmington High School, said her school already has a naloxone kit both in the nurse’s office and with the school resource officer. She thinks having a centrally located kit that kids know about could be a good addition to the high school.
Rollins has been the nurse at the high school for the past four years. In that time, she’s never had to use Naloxone. However, she said you never know when you’re going to need the life-saving drug.
“An extra kit for Narcan that they know is readily available and where you can send a student or staff member to would be good,” Rollins said.
Larry Kenemore is the North America Task Force leader for the Rotary Action Group for Addiction Prevention. Part of his job includes helping train schools, law enforcement and the community on how to use Naloxone.
Even if overdoses aren’t prevalent in a community, Kenemore said you never know when an emergency will arise. An example he gave is from October in Connecticut. He said a child overdosed at his school, nobody had Naloxone, and he died.
While Kenemore is all for having more Naloxone kits in schools in any capacity, he wants more to be done. Specifically, each teacher to have immediate access to the life-saving drug in each of their classrooms. Kenemore said every second counts when there’s an opioid overdose. Every second that goes by is less oxygen to the brain and more brain cells dying.
“We don’t want to see a classroom or a school teacher have to wait around for somebody to show up or to run down the hall to find someone who has Naloxone,” Kenemore said.
The sponsor of the bill, State Rep. Tara Shephard, said she’s having conversations with stakeholders on the accessibility and number of kits that will be required. She also said amendments will be made to the bill to include recommendations.