LONOKE CO., Ark. (KTHV) - Drug overdoses among teens have skyrocketed in the U.S. with some states tripling or quadrupling their numbers. Here in Arkansas, law enforcement are teaming up to fight against that epidemic.
A Facebook post from the Lonoke County Sheriff's Office warns parents to have more talks with their teens about drug overdoses. Last year, the state reported more than 300 cases. Now, the hope among law enforcement is that more talks will lead to lower numbers.
Lonoke County Sheriff John Staley is sending a warning to parents and encouraging more talks about drugs. He believes educating them on the outcomes could reduce the number of cases currently being reported.
"The younger you start, the more information you get to them, the better chance they have of staying away from it," Staley said. "Lets reach out to them and lets get them the information they need on how to stay away from it and what to look for."
Since 2013, Lonoke County has had 22 accidental overdoses and more than 80 attempted overdoses. It's one of the largest numbers in the state of Arkansas.
"They get hooked on pills, which leads you to heroin or vice versa,” Staley said. “Heroin is a little bit more expensive, they are going to have to feed that habit."
Sherwood Police Sergeant Keith Wilson said his department is getting involved in the conversation too. Both departments said that a large number of car break-ins are due to teens looking for their next fix.
"I saw more heroin cases last year than I have in my 26 years,” Wilson said.
He’s convinced it will take law enforcement working together to end this epidemic, but even more than that will be needed to keep it from happening to teens.
"Nowadays, we are talking more because we know that's it's a problem,” Wilson said. “We need to get the heroin off the street and we need to get the pills off the street."
Wilson recommended that parents should search their kid's room, talk with teachers and become aware of any abnormal behavior.
"You know your child's demeanor,” Wilson said. “You know if there has been something that's changed in them, if you see that then start talking to them, say hey, what's going on?"
Last year, DHS received a $3 million grant to reduce opioid related deaths and that money is being used for drug overdose programs.
"Be open with them, talk to them, speak to them," Staley said. “If you need resources once a week, I am going to try to share some resources where you can reach out."
Most law enforcement offices have 24-hour drop boxes where you can drop off any prescription medicine bottles that aren’t being used.
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