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New program aims to prevent overdose deaths in Pulaski County

Every day, The National Institute on Health shows 134 people die from an opioid overdose.

PULASKI COUNTY, Ark. — Pulaski County is ranked as one of the top risk counties for overdose deaths in the state. That's why an Opioid Overdose Prevention Program kicked off Tuesday, hoping to lower the number of overdose deaths in the county.

Every day, The National Institute on Health shows 134 people die from an opioid overdose.

"We can reduce the demand. If we can reduce the demand, we can reduce the supply," said Kirk Lane, Arkansas State Drug Director.

On Monday, the 200th life in Arkansas was saved thanks to the Naloxone program. First responders in Hot Springs administered Naloxone (Narcan), an overdose reversal drug to someone who wasn’t breathing.

“I look at it as it’s a life, but more importantly its hope," Lane said. “People that we save every day, there’s a chance for recovery and there’s hope for recovery.”

Part of the prescription drug/ opioid overdose prevention project in Pulaski County is making sure first responders are trained to administer and have Naloxone readily available.

As part of this project, everyone in Pulaski County will receive mail including a booklet on how to talk to your doctor, and information on the ‘Don’t Run, Call 911’ campaign. This lets people know that if they call first responders to save the life of someone overdosing, they will not get arrested for possession.

The project will also create local advisory councils with people in different organizations who want to fight the epidemic in the county. This is all funded through a Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant.