The University of Central Arkansas in Conway has become the state’s first college to participate in a program that increases access to the opioid overdose reversal medication naloxone, also known as Narcan.

Under UCA’s partnership with the state Department of Human Services, smart cabinets called Naloxboxes will be mounted on walls in areas most in need of quickly accessed, public-use naloxone.

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“Naloxone enables someone to breathe during an opioid overdose,” Arkansas’s drug director, Kirk Lane, said in a news release. “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.”

Like fire extinguishers, Naloxboxes will be placed in areas such as student centers, dorms and fraternity and sorority houses. Each Naloxbox can accommodate up to two doses and includes a mask for breathing, gloves, and information on how to access addiction treatment.

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DHS Program Manager Tenesha Barnes said collegiate students should be prepared to help their classmates, even if they’re not sure the person has overdosed.

“If a person is treated with Naloxone, but they are not having an overdose, there are no harmful side effects,” Barnes said. “Also, bystanders that administer the medication are protected by the Good Samaritan law.”

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