Fall semester Workshops kick-off in front of a packed house at UALR

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In front of a packed house, the William Christian Doerhoff Memorial Foundation kicked off its Fall semester workshop tour on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Presenters from the FBI, DEA, Arkansas State Pharmacy Board and the Arkansas Drug Director brought the message to students, faculty and counselors to Speak Up-Speak Out and help change the culture of accepting drugs as the norm, on campuses and in society.  

The signature feature of the workshop is the presentation of  film “Chasing the Dragon” which  highlights the escalation of the use of prescription opiates to heroin which often leads to death. But this night, students from UALR were interested in the topic of so-called, “medical marijuana”. 

DEA Special Agent, LeAnn Bakr and Pharmacist, Eric Crumbaugh take questions from students  

DEA Special Agent, LeAnn Bakr and Pharmacist, Eric Crumbaugh take questions from students  

UALR students wanted to know from the expert panel “ how do you feel about legalizing marijuana now that it is being used for medical purposes?”  Arkansas Drug Director, Kirk Lane was unequivocal when he stated “ I am against it.”  He made the case, “ on this film it is clear that most of all the individuals profiled as heroin users,  started with marijuana.”   DEA Special Agent, LeAnn Bakr spoke both personally and professionally of the ill effects of marijuana on families and society.  “ Like many of us, this is something I have seen first-hand” said Bakr.  She added that “while there are chemicals from the cannabinoids in marijuana that are intended to treat neurological disorders,  these can be administered in a pill form. Make no mistake, when you’re smoking so-called “medical marijuana”, you're doing so to get high.”

The night closed with the question from the audience, “where can students get help or lean what to do if they are having issues or know of a friend that needs help?”  Dr. Mike Kirk, PhD of the UALR Counseling Center told the students, “ please come see us and let’s talk. This is what we are here for.”  He added “ you can also go to Willswork.org to see your campus resources or state resources if you are struggling or know someone in need.”     

The William Christian Doerhoff Memorial Foundation to host IOAD event at the Arkansas State Capitol Building

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The William Christian Doerhoff Memorial Foundation will host International Overdose Awareness Day, a global event held on August 31st each year that aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. This year's theme is entitled " A Time to Remember- A Time to Act."  The event acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. In Arkansas, we are also inviting those who have had substance use issues but are in recovery to attend so that we may celebrate their achievements. As well, anyone having substance use issues, we welcome them. Treatment and recovery centers around Arkansas will be on hand providing resource information.

The event speakers will be Scott Doerhoff, Executive Director of William Christian Doerhoff Memorial Foundation, Kirk Lane, the Arkansas Drug Director, Matthew Barden, Associate Special Agent in Charge of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, Omaha District Office, and Jimmy McGill, of the Exodus Project. Shannon Mulkern, Director of Business Development at Oasis Renewal Center will close the evening's event with a " cell-light" vigil and reading of the Peace Prayer of St. Frances.  

Special thanks to Maggie Adams of Behavioral Health Services of Arkansas,  Scott Burton, Chief of Staff at the Arkansas Lieutenant Governor’s Office,  Cindy Murphy, Public Affairs Director, at the Office of the Arkansas Attorney General,  and Ms. Diane Upchurch,  Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation

 

 

 

 

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge Announces First-in-the-Nation Initiative Aimed at Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced a first-in-the-nation education initiative called“Prescription for Life” featuring a digital platform to be offered at no cost to all high school students in   Arkansas schools understand the dangers of prescription drug misuse and how to prevent abuse.

“Talking about the harmful impact of prescription drug abuse with children and teenagers can no longer be a goal, It has to be a reality,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansas ranks first in the nation for ages 12 to 17 in misuse of painkillers. Reversing this trend is a top priority of mine. Prescription for Life will be available to every high school student in Arkansas beginning this fall.” Prescription for Life will come at no cost to participating schools. Using an evidence-based public health approach, the digitalcourse will empower high school students with the skills and knowledge they need to make safe and healthy decisions about prescription drugs. The course will be aligned with the Centers for Disease Control’s National Health Education Standards and State academic standards.

Scott Doerhoff, Executive Director of the William Christian Doerhoff Memorial Foundation and a father who lost his son, Will, to a prescription drug addiction and overdose last year said, “Initiating drug education in  Arkansas high schools will create the opportunity for a new culture of awareness and safety for our kids   and educate them on the life threatening risk of not only illegal substance abuse but also illicit prescription drug use which is often and extraneously, thought of as being a ‘safe’ way to use substances. The William Christian Doerhoff Memorial Foundation and Parent Advocacy Group of Arkansas applaud Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and her staff for their commitment and leadership in protecting Arkansas children.

“The Arkansas Attorney General's office and the Drug Enforcement Administration have joined forces to combat a growing epidemic of prescription opioid misuse and heroin use nationwide,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Matthew Barden. This important initiative is to educate students about the true   impacts of opioids and kick-start lifesaving conversations in the home and classroom. DEA is committedto supporting all educational efforts that provide classroom resources and prevention tools to educators and parents that aim to introduce students to the science behind opioids and their impact on the brain andbody.”

Prescription for Life is an innovative training concept designed to prepare our younger generations to     keep their selves, friends, and communities safe from substance abuse,” said Arkansas State Drug Director Kirk Lane. “Education and community involvement is the key to resolving the issues of substance use disorder.”

Drug overdose deaths are on the rise in Arkansas, increasing from 287 in 2015 to 335 in 2016, accordingto data from the State Crime Lab. More than 40 percent of teenagers in Arkansas have tried prescription  drugs and more than half of all teens report that it is easy to obtain prescription drugs from their parents’  or grandparents’ medicine cabinets. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that between 59,000 and 65,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2016, up from 52,404 in 2015 and double the death rate a decade ago. That is more than the number of deaths from car accidents in 2016. And according to the Centers for Disease Control, the majority of drug overdose deaths – six out of 10 involve an opioid.

Find more information about the program and how to bring it to schools at ArkansasAG.gov.

Speak Up-Speak Out panel member named new Arkansas State Drug Director

Chief Kirk Lane and Governor Asa Hutchinson

Chief Kirk Lane and Governor Asa Hutchinson

Benton Police Chief and William Christian Doerhoff Memorial Foundation, Speak Up-Speak Out panel member, Kirk Lane was appointed  to serve as the new Arkansas state drug director, by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.  The drug director coordinates the state's alcohol and drug abuse prevention and treatment programs in addition to other duties.

Governor Hutchison said “Chief Lane was chosen for his extensive experience in law enforcement and his background with the FBI, and he is a dedicated leader who has been a valuable asset to several Arkansas drug and alcohol boards and programs. I am confident that he will continue to do an outstanding job working to further alcohol- and drug-abuse prevention and treatment initiatives of our state. ”

Chief Lane stated his new role is a "great opportunity to lead people in the same direction to prevent drug abuse and improve the quality of life for all Arkansas.” “My job is to encourage people to work together to resolve these issues, and I look forward to being a part of the Governor’s team in this effort.”

William Christian Doerhoff Memorial Foundation, Executive Director, Scott Doerhoff stated that “ anyone who has ever had the privilege of working with Chief Lane knows his unwavering commitment and passion for protecting Arkansans and especially the children from the perils of substance use and abuse.”  

Excerpts taken from Arkansas Democrat news

Arkansas State University Red Wolves Football, Speak Up - Speak Out

Arkansas State University  Red Wolves, football team.

Arkansas State University  Red Wolves, football team.

On June 22, 2017, the Arkansas State University Athletic Department and the ASU - Red Wolves football team and coaching staff became the first athletic program in Arkansas to host  Speak Up – Speak Out,  an illicit prescription drug use and substance abuse workshop that educates students of the life-threatening dangers of drugs.  Over 100 players listened intently as Chief Kirk Lane of the Benton Police Department read aloud the number of drug overdose and deaths, that indiscriminately effect every aspect of American society, including student athletes.  In 2016, over 65,000 Americans died from drug overdose. " You lookout for one another as teammates, now you must do the same for every one of your fellow students on campus" Chief Lane told the student athletes." "You men are our future Mayors, Police Chiefs and Community Leaders. We need you to lead." Joe Skarda, Supervising Agent of the FBI’s Jonesboro, Arkansas Field Office echoed and called out fallacies that peers sometimes use to pressure one another. Skarda said "slogans like snitches get stitches doesn’t work in 2017. These drugs are deadly.”     

Coach Trooper Taylor of the ASU football coaching staff told the group of young men "this young man was your age - he was just like you", referring to William Christian Doerhoff, a student who became addicted to illicit prescription opiates while at the University of Arkansas. Coach Taylor added "you guys always want the answers to the test, well you just got the answers to the test. Now what are you going to do? What do we always say, blood doesn’t make family, love makes family and we have to look out for our brothers and our sisters. They are our family too.”  Dr. Abby Wilson, Associate Athletic Director for Student Services was on hand to help answer substance abuse question for the players and direct players to campus resources if they wanted to seek help.

Scott Doerhoff, Executive Director of the William Christian Doerhoff Memorial Foundation told the student athletes  “ for any one of you who want to seek help for yourselves or a friend but don’t feel comfortable going to the coaching staff, go to Willswork.org and under Resources -Your Campus Resources,  we link not only state agency help lines but also counseling services that are located on the ASU campus, outside of the ASU-Athletic Department. All any of us want is for you to be safe.”  The players responded to the presentation with a renewed awareness and voiced their heartfelt sorrow for the loss of a fellow student and expressed their commitment to Speak Up - Speak Out to save a life of a friend.

Coach Trooper Taylor points out to his team that they must all lookout for one another.  

Coach Trooper Taylor points out to his team that they must all lookout for one another.  

Drew Obert – 2017, Community Service Scholarship Recipient

Drew Obert - President,  2017-R.E.A.C.H. Club

Drew Obert - President,  2017-R.E.A.C.H. Club

On May 15, 2017, Little Rock Catholic High School for Boys awarded the inaugural William Christian             Doerhoff Memorial Scholarship for Community Service to 2017, Catholic High - R.E.A.C.H. Club President, Drew Obert. Drew is a member of Little Rock Catholic High School for Boys, Class of 2017. Drew’s family shared that the award was extra special to Drew because he joined R.E.A.C.H. as a Freshman in 2014 when Will Doerhoff was the R.E.A.C.H. President.  The R.E.A.C.H. Club President spends their Senior year organizing volunteer activities and leading the underclassmen as they partner with community service organizations in and around Central Arkansas, to help those in need. Drew plans to attend Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana this fall and his academic interests are in the field of Biology and perhaps, Pre-Medicine.  

DEA - Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Matthew Barden: "I'm Just a Cop"

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When Matthew Barden, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration’s Little Rock Office, speaks to audiences about the toll drug deaths take on communities, he speaks from experience. With a thirty-year career in law enforcement, twenty-six of which have been dedicated to battling drugs, Barden doesn’t mince words when communicating the devastation drugs cause to families.  In a very direct but honest tone, Barden says “I started working on the front lines as a police officer and a DEA Task-Force member in Orlando, Florida in the 1990s battling the nation’s crack epidemic. In the 90s, drug related deaths were very violent and decimated families.  Today, it’s more overdose deaths that are occurring and the rate is soaring.  But - death is death and it’s heartbreaking.”

As a DEA - Special Agent and now the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the DEA in Arkansas, Barden oversees the work of approximately 95 personnel as well as coordinates with other Federal, State and Local law enforcement officials.  Barden’s passion for saving lives stems in large part from his own personal loss. He recalls “when I was just 19 years old and away in college, I lost my father in a tragic drowning accident. That day,  I lost my world.”  With that scarring event and the deep sense of loss, coupled with the support of his new wife, Barden set out on his own life’s commitment to try and spare others the pain of losing loved ones. 

ASAC-Matt Barden, Senator John Boozman, Arkansas Attorney General-Leslie Rutledge and Boyce Johnson

ASAC-Matt Barden, Senator John Boozman, Arkansas Attorney General-Leslie Rutledge and Boyce Johnson

The DEA’s primary mission is that of law enforcement dealing with drug issues and for the most part hasn’t changed. But awareness campaigns such as Speak Up-Speak Out (of which Barden is a panel member) and other prevention programs are very important to the DEA in their efforts.  The loss of life from drug overdose is the fastest rising cause of all the unintentional deaths, and Barden says “this is where communities can help out.” He added “DEA-Agents work on holidays, weekends and stay up all night to battle drug cartels and drug dealers but we need the help of communities with programs like the Drug Take-Back Initiative.”  The Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Take-Back program is a way for  communities to be involved at every level in prevention of unwanted or unused prescription drugs getting into the hands of children and others who are not the intended recipients. On Saturday,April 29, 2017, the DEA held its 13th Take-Back Initiative collecting 24,483 pounds of drugs to be safely disposed.  The event was dedicated to the memory of William Christian Doerhoff.  These are drugs the DEA won’t have to worry about any longer. Drop-off locations function year round and can be found by accessing ARtakeback.org.

Chief Kirk Lane's Unwavering Commitment

In 2009, Chief Kirk Lane of the Benton, Arkansas Police Department was challenged in a most unlikely way. As he recalls, "a local business owner who doubled as the town's headstone monument maker had seen enough drug overdose deaths in young adults and challenged me - why don’t you do something about this?”  It was then and there that Chief Lane was compelled and went to work.

He began by researching what had already been tried, what was successful and not so much.  “We knew we needed to get drug education in our schools so we developed a series of pamphlets and went to the local school district and started talking to the students” Chief Lane recalls.  But knowing if the supply of drugs were plentiful in society and often, unwittingly, education wouldn’t be enough. So using resources confiscated from criminal activity, the Benton Police Department along with then Arkansas Drug Director, Fran Flener began to develop what is now the Arkansas Drug Take-Back Program. 

Today, Artakeback.org pairs with the Drug Enforcement Administration for the National Drug Take-Back Day and collectively takes in thousands of pounds of unused prescription medications that can be toxic in the hands of those who are not the intended recipients. In 2017, Chief Lane once again spearheaded a lobbying effort of the Arkansas State Legislature for better monitoring of the commonly abused, prescription drug supply available in Arkansas society.  On Tuesday, April 11, 2017, Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law SB 339, to become Arkansas Act 820 which mandates prescribers check the register before dispensing certain medications commonly abused. “States which have mandatory requirements for prescribers to check their Prescription Drug Monitoring Program have shown a 25 percent decrease in deaths and emergency room visits for drug overdose” said Chief Lane.

Chief Lane’s unwavering commitment of keeping illicit prescription medications out of the hands of Arkansans is unsurpassed. This year’s National - DEA-Arkansas Drug Take-Back Day is dedicated to the late William Christian Doerhoff and will be held on April 29, 2017. To see one of the hundreds of drop-off sites around Arkansas, visit Artakeback.org.

Parents On a Mission To Help Others in Need

Batesville parents, Scott and Alisa Lancaster  were on a mission April 6, 2017 at the University of Arkansas Community College – Batesville. Their goal - to encourage others to Speak Up –Speak Out to prevent drug overdose deaths and change the culture.  The couple shared with students and community members  the story of the loss of their late daughter, Chelsea Lancaster who passed at the young age of 25 years.  Referring to the Speak Up-Speak Out Awareness campaign, Mrs. Lancaster told the audience  “ as I learned more about other families struggling with this type of tragedy,  I wanted to bring this program to our community to educate and empower you to make a difference.”  Scott Lancaster asked “ why isn’t this auditorium full tonight?” 

Matt Barden, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the DEA, speaking of the awareness of other aspects of unintentional deaths around the nation, offered “these campaigns are important in society but drug overdose deaths far outpaces gun deaths, car accident fatalities and even war deaths.  We must get this message out on campuses across Arkansas."   In 2016 U.S. traffic fatalities numbered approximately 40,000 and in 2015, U.S. firearm related fatalities were 13,194.  Meanwhile, in 2015,  total fatal drug overdose deaths were 52,400 and Barden added " 2016 is going to be off the charts."  Panel member, Chief Kirk Lane of the Benton Police Department reported that in 2015, every 25 minutes a baby in the U.S. was born suffering opiate withdrawal.  That is 1 out of every 200 babies.   

The panel was completed by John Kirtley, Executive Director of the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy and for the first time, welcomed Ms. Diane Upchurch, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Also joining in the group discussion in a supportive role was Cindy Murphy of the Arkansas Attorney General's Office and Cheryl May of the University of Arkansas, Criminal Justice Institute. Scott Doerhoff, Executive Director and Organizer of the William Christian Doerhoff Memorial Foundation said of the panel,” these are the premier experts in Arkansas on the issue of illicit prescription drug use and substance abuse and our foundation is so fortunate to work with such a group of professionals. Every campus in Arkansas should take advantage of this workshop for the safety of their students and at no cost to the schools.”

 

 

Taking Their Message to Washington D.C.

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On March 22, 2017 the Doerhoff family traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with the United States Drug Enforcement Administrator, Mr. Chuck Rosenberg. The William Christian Doerhoff Memorial Foundation-Executive Director, Scott Doerhoff shared with Mr. Rosenberg their family’s personal loss of their son, Will and echoed the loss and pain of the thousands of families who have lost loved ones to the nation’s opiate epidemic.  In full support of the DEA, the Doerhoff family agreed with Mr. Rosenberg that this issue will take all stakeholders working together to end the death spiral. Mr. Rosenberg, speaking of the Foundation’s awareness campaign, Speak Up-Speak Out- stated “while difficult to quantify in numbers of how many, I can tell you, this program will save lives.”

Speak Up-Speak Out - University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas main campus in Fayetteville, Arkansas was host to The William Christian Doerhoff Memorial Foundation’s - Speak Up-Speak Out workshop on illicit prescription drugs and illegal substance.   Speaking to an audience of over 200 students, faculty and community residents,  Executive Director of the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy, John Kirtley, PharmDasked the students “ how many of you have ever heard of the drug, Adderall “?  Adderall is sometimes referred to as “ legal meth” and is considered a drug of choice to abuse on college campuses by students needing a “pick-me-up” when cramming for exams or trying to keep up with the sometimes rigors schedules of campus life. Incredulously,  an estimated 99% of the students raised their hands to acknowledge their familiarity with Adderall.  Pi Kappa Alpha President, Michael Cobb stated “ it’s in every part of the campus culture”. 

Dr. Asher Morgan, PhD,  an alcohol and other drug specialist at the Pat Walker Health Center told the group “ if any of you have issues you want to talk about, please reach out, this is why we are here tonight”.  Dr. Morgan was supported by Chief Kirk Lane of the Benton Police Department and Matthew Barden, Assistance Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration-Little Rock office.

Abel Soster, a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha and University of Arkansas-Student Government Association announced to the audience that in response to these initiatives on prescription drugs, SGA is working to do their part to combat prescription drug abuse on campus by crafting legislation to create a forgiving pathway for students wishing to seek help for opiate use and abuse.

The event was organized by the University of Arkansas-Dean of Students office representative, Melissa Harwood-Rom and the William Christian Doerhoff Memorial Foundation, Executive Director, Mr. Scott Doerhoff.

Inaugural Speak Up-Speak Out Workshop

The Arkansas State University campus in Jonesboro, Arkansas was host to The William Christian Doerhoff Memorial Foundation’s inaugural Speak Up-Speak Out workshop on the life-threatening dangers of illicit prescription drug use and illegal substance abuse on high school and college campuses.  The William Christian Doerhoff Memorial Foundation partners with the Drug Enforcement Administration.  Matthew Barden, Assistant Special Agent and Charge of the DEA in Arkansas and Amber Long of Arkansas State University Counseling Center were featured speakers. They were supported by John Kirtley, Executive Director of the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy and Chief, Kirk Lane of the Benton, Arkansas Police Department. 

Speaking to students of Arkansas State University, Barden told the group “ You came to this university to make a difference, I challenge you not to do drugs and if you see someonewho is, Speak Up-Speak Out.” Amber Martin Long told the group of students about drugs, “ as much as we don’t want to believe it is here, it is”.  

Talyor Brown, a Freshman student said he did not know how bad prescription drug abuse was until the workshop and how addiction not only affects the person, but the family. He added, “it’s beneficial to know state law protects those who in good faith seek medical treatment for themselves or another person suffering from a drug overdose.  Brown was refereeing to the Joshua Ashley-Pauley Act of Arkansas which was passed to protect those who seek emergent help in an overdose situation.  Nicholas Bearce, A Junior from Jonesboro said “ All of us know someone affected by drugs” and it’s definitely taught them to speak up when they notice a peer using.

Excerpts taken from Jonesboro Sun Staff Writer-Sarah Morris