CONWAY, Ark. – The state legislature now taking action in a crisis Arkansas has been plagued by for years: drug overdoses.

A new house bill would require all high schools and state colleges to have an overdose rescue kit on campus if passed.

“It does make me feel safer having it around just in case,” UCA student Hanna Bryant said.

Arkansas legislators are coming together to try to take action against overdose deaths in the state.

“I’m ecstatic about this house bill, I think this is needed just like AED boxes are,” UCA Program Director for Addiction Studies Dr. Stephanie Rose said.

A new house bill would require all public high schools and state colleges to have overdose rescue kits on campus, something UCA is one step ahead on.

They have naloxone kits in all residential housing, the student center, and in places like the library.

“So we look at these overdose rates and how they exceeded homicide rates and we are going to put our student’s safety first,” Rose said. 

Bryant is a student at the university, and she said having these kits gives her a sense of security.

“It’s very useful to have Narcan just as an option, i think it’s really important if you ever needed to use it that we have the availability,” Bryant said.

According to Arkansas Drug Takeback, Pulaski County alone had 146 overdose deaths in 2021.

One of the top age ranges for overdoses are college-age students according to the Arkansas Department of Health’s 2020 data.

“You see all in the news about teens, kids, adults dying, especially people around the college ages, and even high schoolers I just think it’s really sad,” Bryant said.

“Everybody deserves a second chance at life,” Rose said.