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North Little Rock, Arkansas – A total of 146 overdose deaths occurred in Pulaski County last year, and police departments all around the state have kept up their efforts to combat drug usage.

Every year, Arkansans participate in Drug Take-Back Day by dropping off unused medications.

“Last year, we recovered almost 13 tons,” said State Drug Director Boyce Hamlet.

According to Hamlet, events like Drug Take-Back Day are crucial in the fight against opioids.

“In 2018, overdose deaths dropped, they stayed down below the previous level in 2019, and then COVID hit and everything just went through the roof,” said Hamlet. “So, our numbers are a little skewed right now.”

Hamlet just stated that when compared to other states, Arkansas had a high rate of drug overdose fatalities.

“We have a fight on our hands, and we have to tag it efficiently and in the best way possible,” said Hamlet.

Hamlet noted that it takes a team to make a difference, including cops like Reagan Evans in addition to the community getting involved.

“We’re the closest responders to a scene of somebody who has overdosed,” said Evans.

Evans, a police officer with the North Little Rock Police Department, is aware personally of how crucial it is to be prepared and armed with the right resources to stop an overdose.

“Narcan is basically a drug that can stop the effects of an opiate, such as fentanyl is typically the one that we’re seeing recently,” Evans explained.
Evans has had to use this while in the field.

“Unfortunately, it is something that we have to do often,” said Evans.

Officer Lucas Edwards has used the tool twice in his career and he said that it can be nerve-wracking when something like this happens, but they’re always ready
“You know that whatever your next moves are, could possibly save or help this person survive their overdose,” said Edwards.

Everyone had the same goal of protecting Arkansans from danger.

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