Officials Kick Off Drug Overdose Prevention Campaign for Poinsett County


Advocates for opioid overdose prevention kicked off an official campaign in Poinsett county this week to prevent overdose deaths. Rebekah Whittley’s addiction to opioids began with a visit to the ER.

“I had a kidney infection, and they gave me hydrocodone, and I didn’t need it.” says Whittley, who was formerly addicted to opioids, and now helps women wean themselves off drugs. “And so, I got the high feeling, the euphoric feeling…and I kept chasing that.”

First responders across the county are receiving life-saving kits containing naloxone, gloves and educational pamphlets to treat those that overdose. All are funded through a state grant.

Sheriff Kevin Molder of the Poinsett County Sheriff’s Department finds it helpful. “Each one of our deputies will have one in their car. On them…and if they respond to a drug overdose, we’ll be able to administer it,” says Molder.

The kits will also be distributed to drug treatment centers, and to families. Officials are now seeing an increase in fatalities involving drug cocktails.

“Unfortunately, what drug dealers are doing, is they’re putting fentanyl in everything,” says Dr. Cheryl May, who is the director of the University of Arkansas Criminal Justice Institute. “They’re putting it in marijuana. They’re putting it in heroin.”

Arkansas Drug Director Kirk Lane is seeing it as well. Lane says, “when you’re adding those substances together, along with fentanyl which is 50-100 times stronger than heroin or morphine, it’s playing Russian Roulette, with your life.”

Opioid overdoses claimed over four hundred lives in Arkansas in 2017. The final piece of the prevention campaign is community action.

“We’re focusing on the John Polly good Samaritan law,” adds Dr. May. “The important thing is to make sure folks don’t run. Call 911. And get these individuals the help that they need.”

Poinsett County first responders should receive opioid overdose prevention kits in the next three weeks.

Arkansas Drug Director Kirk Lane is seeing it as well. Lane says, “when you’re adding those substances together, along with fentanyl which is 50-100 times stronger than heroin or morphine, it’s playing Russian roulette, with your life.”ese individuals the help that they need.”

Poinsett County first responders should receive opioid overdose prevention kits in the next three weeks.

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