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ICYMI: New Arkansas Overdose Kit Law Inspires Federal Effort in Washington

ICYMI: New Arkansas Overdose Kit Law Inspires Federal Effort in Washington


America is experiencing a crisis, one that is killing both young and old, Republican and Democrat. I am talking about the illicit fentanyl epidemic, a drug that is coming across our southern border and poisoning our neighbors, friends, and family members -- including, tragically, children. Protecting our future is my top priority and that starts with protecting our kids. That's why I'm tackling this issue head-on with the Saving Lives in Schools Act, following in the footsteps of terrific advocacy at the state level to put life-saving overdose reversal kits in schools.

Read the highlights of my interview with Arkansas State Rep Tara Shephard (D-Little Rock) below:

New Arkansas Overdose Kit Law Inspires Federal Effort In Washington

A U.S. representative has introduced legislation that would require public schools to have opioid overdose rescue kits on site with hopes of having lifesaving care available if someone overdoses...

Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga., is the lead sponsor of the Saving Lives in Schools Act, which would mandate kits with naloxone or other medication designed to block the effects of opioids, including fentanyl...

Schools would have to place the equipment where it could be readily used, such as visible storage boxes with an automated external defibrillator...

Carter based his measure on Shephard's bill with his staff contacting Shephard while writing the federal legislation...

Sitting in Carter's Washington, D.C., office last week, the lawmakers told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that addressing opioid and fentanyl overdoses should not be a partisan issue...

"Fentanyl doesn't discriminate," Carter said. "It doesn't care if you're a Republican or a Democrat. It doesn't care about the color of your skin. Fentanyl poisoning will kill you, and that's why this is so vitally important."

The public health agency predicts fatal overdoses involving synthetic opioids -- including fentanyl -- increased between 2021 and 2022, with officials estimating nearly 76,000 deaths in the 12-month period...

For Arkansas, the CDC reported 292 predicted deaths involving these drugs during this time...

"Every district in the country has been impacted by this," Carter said. "When you're talking about over 200 people every day dying as a result of fentanyl poisoning, then obviously it's an epidemic. It's a crisis."

Similar to the new Arkansas law, Carter's bill would mandate routine inspections and replacement of expired kits as necessary...

A school resource officer or nurse would submit a report following a kit's use...

The federal legislation does not include language concerning the funding for installing and managing these boxes...

Shephard described opioid and fentanyl use as a "different beast" than anything the United States has faced, emphasizing the need for bipartisanship in legislative chambers to prevent overdose deaths...

"As we continue to state, this is not a partisan issue. Fentanyl is not going to ask you if you are a Republican or a Democrat."

You can read the whole article here.

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