Drug overdose deaths in Arkansas reached new heights during the COVID-19 pandemic, with illicitly manufactured fentanyl and other synthetic opioids contributing to the increase, ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson says in a new interview with radio station KUAF.
“What we are seeing is that the drugs that are coming into the illicit marketplace now are stronger and stronger, fentanyl maybe being 100 times stronger than morphine,” Thompson tells reporter Rachell Sanchez-Smith. “These stronger drugs are much more risky because if people take too much, they overdose more quickly.”
For more information on the opioid epidemic in Arkansas and efforts to address it, see:
- Our webpage on NaloxHome, a program that provides the overdose-reversal drug naloxone to Arkansas hospitals for distribution to patients or caregivers of patients who have experienced an overdose or are at risk for an overdose.
- Thompson’s recent column for the Healthcare Journal of Arkansas on NaloxHome and other policy approaches to the crisis.
- Our analysis of rates of naloxone prescribing to Arkansans who may be at risk of overdose because they have been prescribed high-dose opioids.