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UCA partners with DHS to add emergency opioid overdose reversal kits to campus

08/17/2022

UCA partners with DHS to add emergency opioid overdose reversal kits to campus
UCA becomes first college in Arkansas to participate in the Arkansas Collegiate Network’s Collegiate Naloxbox Bystander Rescue Program

(Little Rock, Ark) –The Arkansas Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Division of Aging, Adult, and Behavioral Health Services (DAABHS) partnered with the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) today to announce UCA has become the first college in Arkansas to participate in the Arkansas Collegiate Network’s Collegiate Naloxbox Bystander Rescue Program.

This program increases access to naloxone (or Narcan), an opioid overdose reversal medication, on college campuses. It allows bystander rescuers on college campuses to save the lives of victims of opioid overdose by strategically placing innovative smart cabinets called Naloxboxes in settings most in need of quickly accessible, public use naloxone.

“UCA is committed to health care education in the state and the safety and well-being of our students and campus. Partnering with the Division of Aging, Adult, and Behavioral Health Services to install Naloxboxes across our campus is a nod to both of those priorities. We are thankful for the work of Dr. Stephanie Rose in the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences and her work in bringing this initiative to campus,” said UCA President Houston Davis.

Arkansas Drug Director Kirk Lane said making these Naloxboxes accessible can save lives.

“Naloxone enables someone to breathe during an opioid overdose,” he said. “This ‘opidemic’ affects so many people from all walks of life, including students in our state’s colleges and universities. Giving students and other bystanders on college campuses the ability to administer naloxone can be the difference between life and death for a young person.”

The wall-mounted Naloxboxes will be placed in areas on campuses where a student may experience an overdose (e.g., dorm, sorority/fraternity houses, etc.) and in high traffic student areas (e.g., student centers), like AED Defibrillators and Fire Extinguishers. Each Naloxbox can accommodate up to two doses of Naloxone, and is equipped with a mask for rescue breathing, gloves, and information on how to obtain personal Naloxone and how to access addiction treatment.

Rose, UCA assistant professor, Department of Health Sciences and program director of the addiction studies program, worked to bring the Naloxboxes to campus. She noted the program will give quicker access to naloxone in the event of an opioid overdose, which can be critical.

“First responders often have access to naloxone, but we know seconds matter in cases of opioid overdoses,” she said. “With the addition of the Naloxboxes on the University of Central Arkansas campus, we are empowering students, faculty and staff to save lives by increasing knowledge, as well as access to naloxone.”

DHS Program Manager Tenesha Barnes encouraged collegiate students to be prepared to help their classmates, even if they’re not sure if the person is experiencing an overdose.

“It’s OK if you’re not certain someone is overdosing,” Barnes said. “If a person is treated with Naloxone, but they are not having an overdose, there are no harmful side effects. Also, bystanders that administer the medication are protected by the Good Samaritan law. The bottom line is that we want everyone to be prepared and able to administer life-saving emergency treatment for a possible overdose before it’s too late.”

For more information about the Collegiate Naloxbox Bystander Rescue Program, contact DAABHS Program Coordinator Steven Gray at Steven.Gray@dhs.arkansas.gov.

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