BENTON, Ark. — The number of deaths related to heroin and fentanyl continues to climb in Arkansas.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge organized a course on Wednesday, Jan. 23 to help law officials fight the overdose epidemic.
Law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and coroners learned the ins and outs of responding to drug overdose deaths.
The free course was held in Benton, Ark.
“I’m excited to bring in this training with the National Association of Attorneys General to ensure that Arkansas law enforcement, Arkansas coroners have the opportunity to learn how to investigate and then to eventually prosecute on any opioid-related deaths,” Rutledge said.
Rutledge said this is a problem that’s only getting worse.
“Opioid and fentanyl-related deaths have absolutely escalated in recent years and it’s imperative that we began addressing this problem,"Rutledge said. "We are losing way too many lives every single year. Recently the National Safety Council’s come out and stated that a person is more likely to die from an opioid overdose than a vehicle accident.”
Some topics covered: knowing what type of evidence to look for and knowing how to find electronic evidence. These can help investigators determine if drugs were involved and where they came from.
“Our fear is that there are more deaths related to opioid and fentanyl abuse than we are aware of," Rutledge said, "and by offering this training, we will have our law enforcement officers, our coroners, and others who are first on the scene to be able to accurately determine whether or not a prescription drug overdose is what they are seeing.”
Cleveland Police detective Scott Moran has made it his mission to ensure everyone has the tools they need to fight back.
“We started doing these in 2013," Moran said. "We’ve got a hundred percent success rate, we haven’t lost any cases yet. Just some of the investigative techniques that we use can be applied here to help prosecute these cases.”
Moran said this course is one step in the right direction.
“Every hour someone’s passed away as a result of this crisis," Moran said. "At the same time, there’s dealers out there that are selling it and feeding and feeding on people’s addictions and those dealers need to be held accountable.”