Rutledge Opens Opioid Abuse Awareness Exhibit at the University of Arkansas
October 3, 2018
Says, ‘I am thankful for all of the partnerships that brought this to Arkansas’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today opened Prescribed to Death: A Memorial to the Victims of the Opioid Crisis with Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, the Association of Arkansas Counties and the Arkansas Municipal League at the University of Arkansas. The National Safety Council’s opioid memorial will be on display at the Arkansas Union in Fayetteville from October 3-9 and is free to all members of the public.
“The ‘Prescribed to Death’ memorial is a powerful display to remind us all of the lives lost in just one year at the hands of this deadly epidemic,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am thankful for all of the partnerships that brought this to Arkansas. It is one more avenue to open critical conversations between family, friends, neighbors, church members and other loved ones about this deadly epidemic.”
The centerpiece of the multifaceted exhibit is a wall of 22,000 engraved white pills – each representing the face of someone lost to a prescription opioid overdose in the United States in 2015. Arkansas alone lost 169 residents to opioid overdose in 2016, and it has the second highest rate of opioid prescribing in the country – trailing only Alabama.
The National Safety Council launched Prescribed to Death as a part of the National Safety Council’s Stop Everyday Killers public education campaign.
In addition to Rutledge’s office, the Association of Arkansas Counties and the Arkansas Municipal League, the exhibit is underwritten by contributions from Stericycle, Nationwide Insurance, Walmart and EverFi. Visit StopEverydayKillers.org for more information. Other supporting partners include the Associated Student Government of the University of Arkansas, the Office of the Arkansas Drug Director and the Criminal Justice Institute, University of Arkansas System.
In August, Rutledge announced a new initiative, called #Rx4LifeStories, to allow Arkansans to talk about how the nation’s opioid epidemic has impacted their lives and the lives of their families. Last fall, Rutledge launched Prescription for Life, a first-in-the-nation educational tool offered at no cost to all high school students in the State to help them understand the dangers of prescription drug misuse and how to prevent abuse. To date, it has been launched in 74 schools, across 56 counties and reached over 8,000 students.
Rutledge is also suing the opioid manufacturers who created the crisis in Arkansas for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act.
Each year, Rutledge partners with a number of agencies in hosting the Arkansas Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit. The summit is a free training and educational opportunity for law enforcement officers, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators. The seventh annual Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit is scheduled for Nov. 1 in Hot Springs, with more than 800 taking advantage of early bird registration.
Rutledge also partners with federal and state agencies for the biannual National Take Back Day. Since 2016, more than 600 pounds of prescription drugs were collected at Attorney General Mobile Offices across Arkansas. The fall National Take Back Day is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 27.