According to a new data brief from the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, the number of Arkansans receiving opioid prescriptions is decreasing while the number of individuals receiving prescriptions for the opioid overdose reversal medication naloxone is increasing. Arkansas has the second highest opioid prescribing rate in the country.

Getting a job, paying rent and other matters can be difficult after struggles with opioid abuse that might have included legal difficulties, which creates long-term issues for individuals who are trying to get or stay sober. The Center for Arkansas Legal Services and Legal Aid of Arkansas have launched a new program called Beyond Opioids to provide free legal assistance to families who have been affected by the opioid epidemic.

The Matt Adams Foundation is using a $79,000 Cigna Foundation grant to support its Northwest Arkansas Opioid Response Project. Since its inception in March 2019, the organization has trained and distributed Naloxone opioid overdose reversal kits to more than 2,200 community members including 20 police and fire departments, and nearly 50 lives have been saved through the program.

On today's Northwest Arkansas Business Journal Report, Paul Gatling tells us more about a new partnership between the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield as they launch an initiative called Together Arkansas to help employers affected by the opioid crisis.


The Arkansas Children’s Research Institute will receive just over $516,000 to study the effects of opioid abuse on the development of children from before birth to the preteen years. The grant is part of the National Institutes of Health’s Healthy Brain and Childhood Development Study, in which Arkansas Children’s is one of five institutions participating. 

The Sebastian County Opioid Task Force is hosting a summit at Grace Community Church in Fort Smith this Friday from noon to 5 p.m. that includes four speakers. Seating is limited and registration is available here.

A. Grajeda / KUAF

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control, toured the region with U.S. Rep. Steve Womack of Rogers. Their visit included a discussion of the opioid epidemic and an effort to reduce new HIV infections in Arkansas.

During the last months, the Matt Adams Foundation for Opioid Recovery has distributed about 300 Naloxone kits to the community. The group is hosting a benefit concert May 19 at George's Majestic Lounge to help support their work.  

The conversation about how opioids can, and should, be prescribed continues in Arkansas. We have a special report from Karen Tricot Steward of our partner station KUAR in Little Rock.