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Save AR Students Rally at Capitol Kicks Off Week Focused
on Preventing Substance Misuse


For Immediate Release:
April 19, 2021

Media Contacts

Amy Webb, Chief of Communications

Gavin Lesnick, Deputy Chief Communications

Save AR Students Rally at Capitol Kicks Off Week Focused
on Preventing Substance Misuse

(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) – Dozens of college students, faculty, state officials, and advocates gathered on the Capitol steps today for the Save AR Students 2021 Kickoff Rally. Eleven speakers including Governor Asa Hutchinson, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, and State Drug Director Kirk Lane spoke about ending substance misuse for the college students of Arkansas.

The rally kicked off Save AR Students week in Arkansas, which engages college students, their families, collegiate faculty and administration, and all Arkansans to learn how to prevent substance misuse in the collegiate communities.

Speakers at the rally brought attention to the opioid epidemic in Arkansas, the added strain that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought, and the need for Arkansans to come together to help people struggling with addiction.

“The most important thing we can do – we can talk about policy, we can talk about passing laws – but really it comes down to people,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson. “Our students here can identify someone else that’s struggling, put an arm around them, say we’re there for you, we love you, and identify and challenge those who need help.”

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge added, “The prescription drug use epidemic, as you can tell by this incredible representation here today of Arkansans, it doesn’t care whether you are black, white, or Hispanic; it doesn’t care whether you are rich or poor or what neighborhood you grew up in, how much your parents loved you, or how much you were on your own. Addiction hits every family and every community, and that’s why it’s important that we come together as a state, and as communities, and as human beings to help solve this problem and to slow the curve of addiction and the lives we lose every single day to addiction.”

The event was sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Aging, Adult, and Behavioral Health Services (DAABHS) which, along with state partners represented at the rally, provides education and treatment options for Arkansans with addiction.

Speakers at the Save AR Students Rally included:

  • Governor Asa Hutchinson
  • Leslie Rutledge, Attorney General
  • Kirk Lane, State Drug Director
  • Dr. Gregory H. Bledsoe, Surgeon General
  • Frank Scott Jr., Mayor of Little Rock
  • Tenesha Barnes, DAABHS Prevention, Substance Abuse Prevention Director
  • Steven Gray, DAABHS Prevention, Substance Abuse Collegiate Program Coordinator
  • Alex Smith, Harbor House Inc., Lead Representative of Region 11
  • Angelique Francis, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Trojans Women’s Basketball Player
  • Kimberly Ashley-Pauley, University of Central Arkansas, Research Compliance Officer
  • Kyle Brewer, NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, Peer Specialist Program Manager

Learn more about the Save AR Students campaign and participating partners statewide here.

Video and photos from the Save AR Students Rally are available here.


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