Arkansas is 1 of the 40 states exercising the Joshua Ashley-Pauley Act “Good Samaritan” law, which encourages people to seek out medical attention for an overdosing person and for follow-up medical care after naloxone has been administered. These laws provide immunity from arrest, charge or prosecution for certain controlled substance possession & paraphernalia offenses when a person who is either experiencing an opiate-related overdose or observing calls 911 for assistance or seeks medical attention.
Arkansas Act 1222 also provides immunity for prescribing, dispensing, & administering Naloxone & other opioid antagonists, “(b) A person acting in good faith who reasonably believes that another person is experiencing an opioid-related drug overdose may administer an opioid antagonist.”
What is the Arkansas Overdose Program “Don’t Run. Call 911.”?
One of the programs which was created from a Prescription Drug/Opioid Overdose-Related Deaths (PDO) prevention grant by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in September 2016 is the “Don’t Run. Call 911.” program for Arkansas. Through this grant, the Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) designed media and public education campaigns to increase health literacy and knowledge about the use of naloxone in overdose interventions to address prescription drug/opiate misuse disorders.
The campaign focuses on the importance of calling 911 in the event of an overdose, and on educating the public about the Joshua Ashley-Pauley Act “Good Samaritan” law in Arkansas. For more information, click here.
To reduce the morbidity and mortality of opioid overdoses in Arkansas, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson recently announced a standing order 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.
This standing order was issued pursuant to Act 284 of 2017 (SB 142) (Arkansas Code § 17-92- 101(16)) to authorize licensed pharmacists in Arkansas to order, dispense and/or administer naloxone according to the provisions of Arkansas Code § 17-92-101(16) and the requirements of this standing order.
Known by several names-Narcan, Evzio, Naloxone-naloxone is an Opioid Antagonist, meaning that it is a drug used to reverse/block the effects of opioids. Naloxone is safe and effective, and has no effect on non-opioid overdoses.
The Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy has compiled a variety of resources to assist in this initiative, including a copy of the protocol that pharmacists should use in naloxone distribution, a PowerPoint presentation detailing the opioid epidemic nationally and in our state, and a link to video footage of Governor Hutchinson’s press conference announcing this standing order. The complete list of resources can be found here.