On Thursday, Randolph County Residents joined together to discuss the impact of Opioid and Prescription Drug misuse on the community. The roundtable was hosted by Arkansas Overdose Program-Don’t Run, Call 911. Randolph County was one of 13 Arkansas Counties chosen for the project. The program included statistics, stories, and solutions specifically addressing the opioid crisis in Randolph County. Dr. Cheryl May with the Criminal Justice Institute explained that there is a stigma associated with drug addiction which often poses a barrier to adequate access to resources. She encouraged the community to realize that, “These are our sons, our daughters, our husbands, our wives, our neighbors, our coworkers.” The panel talked about the correlation between prescribed painkillers and heroin addiction. About 80 percent of heroin users began their drug misuse journey with opioids. Sydney Lewis discussed state and local statistics and encouraged participants to get familiar with the dashboard on artakeback.org which contains valuable resources and information.

Panel Dr. Cheryl May, Director Criminal Justice Institute, Kirk Lane State Drug Director, Jamal Williams Project Director–Department of Aging Adult and Behavioral Health Services, Sydney Lewis Arkansas Foundation of Medical CareJoe Veer-Guest speaker discussed his own journey to overcoming addiction and says it is important to treat the root of the problem and to have adequate support Kirk Lane State Drug Director discussed ways the community can work together to overcome the challenges of drug misuse, the stigma of addiction, and the barriers to gettting treatment