Opioid Crisis

Kristie Flynn

Drug overdoes deaths surpass homicides in Arkansas for first time ever

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (THV11 Digital, May 6, 2019) —For the first time ever, the Arkansas State Crime Lab says it’s seeing more drug overdoses than homicides. Officials said this shift in numbers can be partially blamed on the growing opioid crisis.

Cindy Moran, the Assistant Director of Arkansas State Crime Lab said the lab has also seen a spike in fentanyl overdose deaths.

“This is the first time that we have seen more drug overdose deaths than homicide death in the state of Arkansas,” Moran said.

In 2018 the Arkansas State Crime Lab determined a drug overdose to be the cause of death in 322 cases, homicides only accounted for 285 deaths.

“Probably more than 75% of those autopsies, whether it has something to do with another cause of death, there’s always some sort of drug present in the person’s system, so it’s certainly a problem,” Moran said.

Moran went on to say drug trafficking cases, are also on the rise.

“We’re getting over 22,000 cases here in the state of Arkansas which is more than we have ever had before. We just see that growing leaps and bounds every single year,” Moran said.

Moran said even with these alarming numbers, there is something we can all do to stop the problem, even if it’s just getting rid of unused prescriptions.

“Get rid of them because you don’t know the unintended consequence of this. You could have kids, grandkids, that go into that to either sell them or use it and think it’s okay,” Moran said.

“Several of these substances are very addicting. It’s not something that can be overcome overnight,” Moran said.

Moran also said opioid overdose deaths in the state could be up to 30% higher than the reported number because coroners aren’t required to report them.


Plaintiffs' Omnibus Response to Defendants' Motions filed on Aug. 30, 2018.

Second Amended Complaint filed on April 2, 2018 in Crittenden County Circuit Court.

News Release announcing March 21, 2018 press conference.

News Release announcing April 6, 2018 Arkansas Supreme Court decision.

Watch video from the news conference announcing the lawsuit.

Opioid news conference photos.

Media Coverage of Arkansas Opioid Litigation

State aims to tackle addiction in the courtroom – Arkansas Money & Politics

One state's novel idea to make Big Pharma pay for opioid epidemic — CNN

Attorney: Governments seeking to recover 'probably...billions' from opioid companies – Talk Business & Politics

Opioid Crisis: Is Arkansas Paving the way for big pharma, not taxpayers, to pay for addiction? — Newsweek Online

Arkansas cities, counties sue drug makers over opioid crisis — Associated Press

Other Media Coverage

Opioid-makers gushed dollars to Arkansas doctors — Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Bitter Pill — Arkansas Times

Opioid crisis affects all Americans, rural and urban — U.S. Department of Agriculture

The opioid epidemic: A crisis years in the making — The New York Times

Opioid Resources

A Prescription for Action: Local Leadership in Ending the Opioid Crisis

This joint report from National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National League of Cities (NLC) examines how cities and counties can strengthen collaboration with each other and state, federal, private-sector and non-profit partners to tackle the opioid crisis. Several of the recommendations are accompanied by existing local practices from cities and counties. The report also includes recommendations for state and federal officials, who are pivotal partners in local efforts to combat opioid misuse, diversion, overdose and death.

Arkansas Drug Takeback

Arkansas Department of Health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Association of Counties

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Institute for Healthcare Improvement

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Rainwater, Hold & Sexton Injury Lawyers 800-434-4800

Guardian Pro RFID and AAC Risk Management Fund mitigate risks for Arkansas jails