Police Raise Awareness of Rising Drug Overdose Trends

FORT SMITH (KFSM)- Drug-related injuries and overdosing are topics rarely spoken of, but for International Overdose Awareness Day, the conversation is opening up.

"Some people think that they can look at someone and say, 'oh, that person is on drugs or that person has a pill dependency, but that's not the case,' Commander of Narcotics for Fort Smith Police, Captain Jamie Hammond said.

While some areas of combating drugs have improved locally, police are seeing rises in other areas of drug use.

"Our problem now has moved to prescription drugs," Captain Hammond said. "Luckily, through legislation and efforts by law enforcement and other agencies, prescription drugs are getting tougher to get a hold of people who don't actually need them."

According to the Fort Smith Police Department, dispatchers have received 106 calls this year regarding drug overdoses, and 14 of those were in the last month.

"It's important that we have a day like today that maybe sheds some light on their problem and their dependency to help them," Captain Hammond said.

Some local recovery houses are working towards helping those who are addicted.

Director of the Harbor Recovery Institute, Tyler Limore released a statement to 5NEWS that said:

"A friend of mine and former Harbor House Board Member likes to remind people, 'We all know someone dead behind this disease.' It's a shocking statement, but it's true. This problem affects people and families from all walks of life. We do our best to help our clients get past their addictive and behavioral health problems."

Statistics show that 129 people die each day of accidental drug overdoes, a number police say is far too many.

For more information about the Harbor Recovery Institute, visit their website.