LITTLE ROCK, AR – UAMS has been granted $1 million for a new program to help save people from opioid overdose.

The program was funded through a grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and will teach several people how to use Naloxone.

When used correctly, the nasal spray can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose and restore breathing.

Meghan Breckling is an assistant professor for the UAMS College of Pharmacy and will serve as the program’s director.

“It’s kind of like the way we think of CPR,” Breckling said. “You never know when you may need something like Naloxone.”

The program will start with training primary care physicians, doctor’s offices, pharmacists and first responders. They will then be the trainers for the rest of the community.

Monte Payne with the Wolfe Street Foundation said having access to the training will make a difference.

“Just knowing you have the ability to make another person’s life change should be enough to want to understand what Narcan is about,” Payne said.

Payne said he is 19 years in recovery and has been leading Naloxone training at the Wolfe Street Foundation for the last six months. He said it’s not just affecting those with addiction.

“It could be an accidental overdose, it could be medication switched up,” Payne said.

The new training will be for everyone who wants to learn.

“There’s a lot of stigma around this and I think the more we talk about it, the more normal that it becomes,” Breckling said.

Breckling said UAMS will start training doctors and first responders in October. They hope to open the training to the public by early next year.