Arkansas Opioid Recovery Partnership announces ReviveAR app launch in El Dorado

Kirk Lane, the director of the Arkansas Opioid Recovery Partnership, speaks Thursday at the Union County Courthouse. (Matt Hutcheson/News-Times)
Kirk Lane, the director of the Arkansas Opioid Recovery Partnership, speaks Thursday at the Union County Courthouse. (Matt Hutcheson/News-Times)

The opioid epidemic is an ongoing concern in the country, in Arkansas and in south Arkansas.

According to the health policy research organization KFF, there were 386 opioid overdose deaths in Arkansas in 2021, which accounted for 61% of all drug overdose deaths in the state. Across the U.S., opioid overdose deaths accounted for 75% of all drug overdose deaths in 2021.

Opioids are, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a class of drugs that include the narcotic heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and "pain relievers available legally by prescription such as oxycodone and morphine."

On Thursday, representatives with the Arkansas Opioid Recovery Partnership (ARORP) partnered with local officials to announce the launch of the new ReviveAR app, an app "designed to prevent and treat opioid abuse in Arkansas."

The ARORP is an initiative resulting from a partnership between the Arkansas Municipal League and the Association of Arkansas Counties.

The launch announcement for the app was held Thursday at the Union County Courthouse.

El Dorado Mayor Paul Choate introduced the first speaker, Kirk Lane, the director of the Arkansas Opioid Recovery Partnership.

Lane explained how country-wide lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies helped produce funding to battle the ongoing epidemic.

"Seven years ago, the Arkansas Municipal League and the Arkansas Association of Counties took on a big responsibility by joining with other states to file lawsuits against big pharma because of the opioid issues big pharma inflicted on our country. Because of that, they got settlement agreements and funding came in. The cities and counties didn't start there -- they wanted to band together, because the way we defeat this problem is by banding together," Lane said.

Lane said the payments were split into thirds between the state of Arkansas, the AAC and the AML; the ARORP is the result of a partnership between the county and municipal groups.

"We want to put money into areas where there's never been money before, and put hope and recovery in areas where they haven't been," he continued. The ARORP, he said, has been able to spend $23 million in the last year and projects to receive around $300 million in the next "12 to 15 years"

The ReviveAR app, which is available now on the Google and Apple app stores, has features including education about opioids and opioid overdose, family support resources and information about ARORP projects.

The app also features step-by-step instructions, including audio instructions, on how to use Naloxone, a medication designed to reverse opioid overdoses, information on local treatment and recovery options, and Arkansas Take Back locations across the state, which is a program designed to take and dispose of leftover or unused prescription medication.

Tenesha Barnes, deputy director for the ARORP, delved into more details about the ReviveAR app.

"This is prevention in your hands. Everything you need to know about prevention, treatment and recovery is in the palm of your hand," Barnes said.

Kaitlynn Ford, president of local non-profit The Young Artist Studio, spoke on behalf of the organization while emphasizing the importance of the ReviveAR for young people.

"This app will be really useful. I don't want to say lazy -- but [my] generation, we are lazy. So, with this app, it helps talk about opioid addiction and how to overcome it. It puts videos on there for us, so if we don't want to just sit there and read, we can sit there and listen," Ford said. Ford added that she would use her platform to tell other young people about the app and what it can be used for.

Other speakers included El Dorado city council member Willie McGhee, who spoke about the need for education and awareness about the widespread nature of opioid addiction, and TOUCH coalition project coordinator Jill Weinischke, who detailed her organization's efforts to supply Naloxone and training of how to use it to El Dorado High School seniors and local nonprofit organizations, businesses and churches.

photo Kaitlynn Ford, president of local non-profit the Young Artist Studio, speaks on Thursday during the launch for ReviveAR. (Matt Hutcheson/News-Times)
photo Tenesha Barnes, deputy director for the ARORP, shows off the new ReviveAR app Thursday at the Union County Courthouse. (Matt Hutcheson/News-Times)

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