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Gov. Hutchinson Announces State’s Naloxone Standing Protocol

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“Naloxone in the hands of more Arkansans, including our first responders, will save lives”

LITTLE ROCK – At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Hutchinson, alongside Kirk Lane, DHS state director of drug prevention, and other administration officials, announced the creation of the state’s Naloxone Standing Protocol.

The Naloxone Standing Protocol was developed pursuant to Act 284 of 2017 by Sens. Cecile Bledsoe and Lance Eads and Rep. Justin Boyd. Similar to an immunization order, it allows licensed pharmacists in Arkansas to order, dispense and/or administer naloxone without a prescription as therapy, providing greater access to more Arkansans and first responders in the event of a drug overdose.

Dr. Nate Smith, director and state health officer of the Arkansas Department of Health, will serve as the prescriber of record for the protocol.

“The effects of opioid addiction — on individuals, families, and our state — are staggering,” said Gov. Hutchinson. “Reports of drug-related injuries and deaths across the nation are increasing, and sadly, we’ve seen the tragic effects of this epidemic on the communities in our state, as well.

LEARN MORE: Read about opioid abuse in the Spring 2017 issue of Arkansas Hospitals

“The Naloxone Standing Protocol is just one step Arkansas is taking to fight back by allowing easier access to this life-saving medication and helping to reduce the number of lives lost to opioid abuse. There is no doubt that putting Naloxone in the hands of more Arkansans, including our first responders, will save lives.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths from prescription opioids like Oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone have more than quadrupled since 1999. One half of all opioid overdose deaths can be attributed to prescription opioids.

“Establishing a Standing Protocol for Naloxone in Arkansas will increase access to a proven life-saving measure that will benefit Arkansans struggling with substance abuse disorders that involve opioids,” said Kirk Lane, DHS state director of drug prevention. “This protocol was made possible by the collective effort of our legislators, the medical community and state government working together to solve this issue in Arkansas under the leadership of Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

“Establishing this Naloxone Standing Protocol is an important step toward achieving our goal of reducing the misuse and abuse of drugs in Arkansas.”

Naloxone is an opioid antagonist delivered via injection or nasal spray that is used to block or reverse an opioid overdose, whether it is a powerful prescription pain medication or a street drug, such as heroin. Naloxone will have no effect on respiratory depression caused from non-opioid substances.

This standing order is one of the recommendations made recently by the National Opioid Task Force to President Trump as a necessary change to assist in reducing the opioid epidemic. In 2015, the Arkansas Legislature passed Act 1222, known as the Good Samaritan Act, to cover liability of the use of this substance by trained individuals.

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