Opioid summit to be hosted in Fort Smith


FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFTA) — Opioid use and abuse is affecting many Arkansans.

Most overdose deaths within the state have involved opioids, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Arkansas is second in the nation for over-prescribing opioid medications, according to Arkansas Take Back.

In 2017, Arkansas providers prescribed more than 105 opioid prescriptions for every 100 people, which is nearly two-fold greater than the average U.S. rate, according to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention.

A recent national study shows a five-fold increase among babies born with opioids in their systems.

The Sebastian County Opioid Task Force is hosting an opioid summit: “In Our Own Backyard… Addressing Opioids in Our Community”. It will be at Grace Community Church on Brooken Hill Drive in Fort Smith between 12:00 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11.

Special training opportunities will be available.

Those on the task force have a goal of reducing opioid abuse and deaths within that county.

All our welcome. Health care providers, educators, law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, judicial personnel, prevention specialists, counselors and clergy are encouraged to attend.

Featured speakers include Sebastian County Sheriff Hobe Runion; Sebastian County Judges David Hudson and Jim O’Hern; Dr. Cheryl May, director of the Arkansas Criminal Justice Institute and Tabitha Fondren. Dr. Gary Hawthorne will host a panel discussion at the summit.

Runion encourages everyone interested in the wellbeing of the community to register and attend the summit.

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