(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) — Arkansas Drug Director Kirk Lane is resigning to serve as director of the Arkansas Opioid Recovery Partnership, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced today.
Governor Hutchinson appointed Mr. Lane in July 2017 as director of the state’s efforts to prevent substance abuse. Mr. Lane’s resignation is effective August 21, 2022.
“In the five years Kirk has led the fight against substance abuse, Arkansans know more about the issue and are better equipped to battle it in the public arena and when it becomes personal,” Governor Hutchinson said. “Thousands of Arkansans have survived an opioid overdose because of Kirk’s commitment to put Narcan in the hands of first responders.”
In his letter of resignation, Mr. Lane thanked Governor Hutchinson for the appointment, which put him on the front lines in the fight against substance abuse.
“This position has opened my eyes to the serious issues that substance use disorder creates, and how it has entrenched itself in everything we do,” Mr. Lane wrote. “Most importantly, it has made me more determined to get in front of it to defeat it. I hope to work in collaboration with the State of Arkansas to fill in the gaps and sustain programs that are evidence based to change the direction of the trends.”
DHS Secretary Cindy Gillespie credited Lane with coordinating the statewide effort to prevent drug overdoses, treat substance misuse, and provide resources for Arkansans battling drug problems to find and maintain recovery.
“While I am sorry to see Kirk leave, I am grateful for his dedication and service to the state,” Gillespie said. “From peer recovery programs to overdose prevention and education campaigns to partnerships with law enforcement across this state, Kirk has been at the forefront of our efforts to prevent substance abuse. One of his top achievements is the Arkansas Naloxone Program, a partnership where first responders are trained to use Narcan to stop opioid overdoses. To date, more than 1,500 lives have been saved through this program alone. Kirk’s work has had a profound impact on this state, and I wish him the best of luck in his new role.”
The Arkansas Association of Counties and the Arkansas Municipal League created the Arkansas Opioid Recovery Partnership and has hired Mr. Lane as director to oversee the distribution of money the counties and cities have received in settlements with the manufacturers and distributors of opioids.