News Releases

Seventh Annual Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit Held in Hot Springs


November 1, 2018

About 1,000 attend

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 Institution, a division of the University of Arkansas System, hosted the seventh annual Arkansas Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention 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 which gives participants an opportunity to hear from experts regarding prescription drug abuse prevention and treatment, and was attended by about 1,000.

“Arkansas has been at the forefront of fighting the opioid epidemic, and I am proud to offer the training necessary for service providers,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Working as an aggressive collaboration of federal, state and local resources, I am confident that we will curb this crisis and save lives.”

The all-day Summit began with remarks from the Attorney General, Governor Asa Hutchinson and U.S Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas Cody Hiland followed by breakout sessions about medication-assisted treatment options from Commander Karen Hearod, regional administrator with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and e-prescribing from Ken Whittemore Jr., the senior vice president of Professional and Regulatory Affairs for Surescripts. Tom Fisher and Justin King with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration discussed fentanyl. Maureen Vogel with National Safety Council discussed handling opioids in the workplace and Kristina Carnes with the Attorney General’s Office discussed the Prescription for Life program. Steven Blackwood; Paul Chapman, Restore Hope executive director; and Jimmy McGill, state targeted response opioid recovery coordinator with the Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Aging Adult and Behavioral Health Services discussed peer recovery.

Rutledge hosted today’s luncheon, which included an update on Naloxone SAVEs from Arkansas State Drug Director Kirk Lane and a screening of the Emmy award winning “Saving a Generation,” by Laura Monteverdi, reporter with KTHV, also served as emcee for the event.

The afternoon session included an Arkansas impact panel with Dr. Johnathan Goree, assistant professor in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Department of Anesthesiology and Director of Chronic Pain Division; Dr. Corey Hayes, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at UAMS and Research Health Scientist in the Center for Mental Health and Outcomes Research at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System and Associate Professor in the UAMS Department of Psychiatry and Program Director of the Center for Addiction Services and Treatment in the Psychiatric Research Institute. The afternoon session also included presentations from Lieutenant Detective Patrick Glynn with the Quincy, Mass., Police Department; Trevor Villines with the Razorback Action Group; Joe Martin with the Arkansas Department of Health discussing Dose of Reality; and a survivor’s panel.

Plenary sessions included a presentation about over-the-counter medications by Dr. Keith McCain, associate professor at the UAMS Department of Pharmacy Practice. A family panel closed out the day.

The Attorney General’s Office also partners with local law enforcement to host take back events at mobile offices around the State. Since 2016, 611.2 pounds of prescription drugs have been collected and safely disposed of by Attorney General’s office mobile offices – keeping them out of the hands of children and those with addictions.

Rutledge is partners on the Prescription Drug Take Back with the Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Department of Human Services, Arkansas National Guard, Arkansas Rotary Clubs, Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy, FBI, Office of the State Drug Director, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and over 130 additional law enforcement and government agencies, community organizations and public health providers.

Prescription Drug Take Back days are just one step in Rutledge’s multi-faceted approach of education, prevention and litigation to end the opioid crisis. 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 101 schools, across 65 counties and reached over 10,900 students. Rutledge has a new initiative, called #Rx4LifeStories, inviting Arkansans to submit videos discussing how the nation’s opioid epidemic has impacted their lives and the lives of their families.

Rutledge is also suing the opioid manufacturers that created the crisis in Arkansas for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act.

In addition to the Attorney General’s office, the Summit is sponsored by the Arkansas Alcohol Drug Coordinating Council, Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police, Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Department of Human Services, Arkansas Medical Board, Arkansas National Guard, Arkansas National Guard Counterdrug Program, Arkansas State Board of Nursing, Arkansas Prevention Network, Arkansas Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Gulf Coast HIDTA, National Association of Boards of Pharmacy Foundation, University of Arkansas at Little Rock MidSOUTH Center for Prevention and Training, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

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