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Arkansas’s Opioid Epidemic Affects Kids as Well


Arkansas State Drug Director Kirk Lane has been in law enforcement for 30 years. Naturally, he’s seen a lot.                    

Addressing the opioid crisis in Arkansas is currently his main focus.  While speaking to a group of Department of Human Services Division of County Operations administrators, Lane shared a story to best demonstrate the danger of today’s drugs.

“There was a mom who put her young adult son out of the house after she got tired of him doing drugs,” Lane said. “While cleaning out his room, she started dusting a table, and her arm touched the top of it. She immediately passed out.”                                    

“That wasn’t dust on the table … it was the fentanyl her son was using,” Lane said. “When the skin of her arm made contact with the table the fentanyl instantly sunk in.”

There were several gasps made when he got to that part of the story.   

Lane, who’s worked with the Arkansas Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, has several stories on what opioids are doing to people, even kids. In Arkansas there were 411 drug overdose deaths last year.          

“Unfortunately, it’s commonplace for kids to also use opioids,” Lane said. “A lot of kids use drugs or alcohol simply because they want to fit in.”

Lane encourages parents to warn their kids about drugs and talk to them about the importance of associating with the right people.                                 

“Developing genuine relationships with our kids is the key,” Lane said. “I can remember one time with my son, I told him I wasn’t comfortable with who he was hanging with. He understood. He always knew he could talk to his mother or me if he had any questions or concerns.”         

According to Lane, other tips for helping kids avoid the epidemic include: parents quickly addressing any dramatic change in their kid’s behavior, monitoring their child’s social media and cell phone use, asking teachers to watch their child while they’re at school, and knowing what’s in their child’s room.       

For more information about combating opioid use, go to artakeback.org or https://drugfree.org/.     

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