Governor Sanders signs new law requiring naloxone kits in schools
[Little Rock, Arkansas – May 5, 2023] Yesterday morning Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed House Bill 1514, which requires public high schools and public institutions of higher education in the state of Arkansas to keep a naloxone kit on campus. Naloxone is a life-saving opioid agonist that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
According to the CDC, drug overdose deaths among students ages 14-18 increased by 94% between 2019 and 2020. Increases in access to illicit fentanyl; counterfeit pills, vape cartridges, and marijuana laced with fentanyl; and the ease of purchasing drugs on social media have all contributed to the increase.
The requirement will be enforced January 1, 2024 through the Criminal Justice Institute and the Office of the Arkansas State Drug Director. The kits are required to be visible and clearly labeled on campus, and school nurses and school resource officers will be required to carry naloxone at all times.
The new law, Act 811, was passed through the advocacy of change makers in Arkansas at the city, state, county, and local levels. State Representative Tara Shephard was the lead sponsor of the bill. A freshman representative, Shephard celebrates her first bill to be passed into law.