Prescription Drug Abuse Summit Held in Hot Springs
November 3, 2015
HOT SPRINGS – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today, along with the Arkansas Office of the Drug Director, Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy and the Criminal Justice Institute, a division of the University of Arkansas System, hosted the fourth annual Arkansas Prescription Drug Abuse Summit at the Hot Springs Convention Center.
The Summit serves as a free training and educational opportunity for law enforcement officers, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators, and gives an opportunity to hear from experts regarding prescription drug abuse prevention and treatment.
“Nearly 44,000 people die from drug overdoses each year, with more than half of those because of abuse of prescription drugs,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Unfortunately, Arkansas has one of the highest rates of prescription drug abusers. This is a major problem that cannot be addressed unless we all work together, which is why I am proud to help host this important Summit today and welcome my friend and colleague from Indiana, Attorney General Greg Zoeller, to share his insight on this topic.”
Opioid addiction and overdose has gripped our nation. People from every state, every community and all walks of life are feeling the pain of this crisis,” said Attorney General Zoeller. “In my home State of Indiana this year, we felt this pain all too acutely when faced with the first HIV outbreak linked to intravenous opioid abuse. This public health emergency and years of work on our Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force have underscored the need for collaboration among policy makers, law enforcement and the medical community. The good work by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge developing this type of collaboration should give hope to Arkansans that they can make a difference in fighting this epidemic.”
The event began this morning with breakout sessions to discuss resources available in Arkansas for prescription drug abuse prevention and treatment.
Rutledge hosted the luncheon, which included the keynote address from Zoeller, who is serving his second term as Indiana’s 42nd Attorney General. Zoeller created and serves as co-chair of Indiana's Prescription Drug Task Force, is a member of the Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana, supports the expansion of School Resource Officers and serves as the National Association of Attorneys General Tobacco Committee co-chairman. A priority of the Task Force is to advance legislation to help combat prescription drug misuse and diversion. Several Task Force accomplishments include its partnership with the Indianapolis Colts to heighten awareness of this epidemic; the launch of its “Train the Trainer” public outreach program; the free online course titled “The Opioid Epidemic and Indiana's Opioid Prescribing Law;” drug take back events; and providing more than 85 outreach seminars/webinars presented to prescribers statewide since the implementation of the opioid prescribing laws.
The afternoon session includes a presentation from Lt. Patrick Glynn with the Quincy Police Department in Massachusetts. Glynn will speak about the successes his department has had in utilizing the drug naloxone to assist individuals experiencing opioid overdose.
Additional Summit partners include the Arkansas Alcohol Drug Coordinating Council; Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Behavioral Health; Arkansas Medical Board; Arkansas National Guard Counterdrug Program; Arkansas Nursing Board; Arkansas Prescription Drug Monitoring Program; Arkansas Prevention Network; Benton Police Department; Delta Regional Authority; FBI National Academy – Arkansas Chapter; Gulf Coast High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas; National Association of Boards of Pharmacy Foundation; University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.