Working Together To Combat Local Opioid Epidemic In Sebastian County

FORT SMITH (KFSM)- City leaders, law enforcement and pharmacists are coming together with the community to discuss the Opioid Epidemic and new information about life saving medicine.

This comes after the Arkansas State Legislature made Narcan or Naloxone, an opioid overdose medicine, available without a prescription.

“Locking up people is not gonna work,” said Sebastian County Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck.

Hollenbeck explained that the epidemic cannot just be a law enforcement answer and other city officials agree.

“We want to make sure people know how to get ahold of that,” said Mosemarie Boyd, founder of River Valley Economic Development. “We want to teach people abut the recovery community and what the options are for reaching out for live saving help. It takes a little while to call 911 and we can’t always get there and there are folks afraid to call for law enforcement’s help.”

Tim Freeman said he knows exactly that fear. Freeman is a recovering addict. He said he’s been sober for nine years, and shared that there’s a way out, but it takes help from everyone.

“There’s life besides drugs,” Freeman said. “We know how it is to be on drugs, but do we know how it is to be clean? Life is not all easy, but it gets easy.”

Freeman also said he was shocked at how bad the drug epidemic has gotten.

“I did not know it was that bad,” Freeman said. “I knew it was getting there, but not as bad as it is and there needs to be changes.”

Other recovering addicts also shared their stories.

“We’re in a battle together and we need to look past the lines between law enforcement and the community,” Boyd said.

For opioid overdose medicine like Narcan and Naloxane, you can now get those at most local pharmacies without a prescription, according to pharmacists.

Pharmacists said you may even be able to get the life saving medicine through your insurance.