LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Changes coming in Arkansas government.

Arkansas Drug Director Kirk Lane will resign his position Aug. 21 in order to assume a new role as Director of the Arkansas Opioid Recovery Partnership.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson appointed Lane in July 2017 as drug director, a position designed to prevent substance abuse. The Arkansas Association of Counties and the Arkansas Municipal League created the Arkansas Opioid Recovery Partnership and hired Lane as director to oversee the distribution of money the counties and cities have received in settlements with the manufacturers and distributors of opioids.

“In the five years Kirk has led the fight against substance abuse, Arkansans know more about the issue and are better equipped to battle it in the public arena and when it becomes personal,” Hutchinson said. “Thousands of Arkansans have survived an opioid overdose because of Kirk’s commitment to put Narcan in the hands of first responders.”

(Narcan is a nasal spray used to treat possible opioid overdose, commonly issued to ambulance crews and law enforcement officers.)

“This position has opened my eyes to the serious issues that substance use disorder creates, and how it has entrenched itself in everything we do,” Lane stated. “Most importantly, it has made me more determined to get in front of it to defeat it. I hope to work in collaboration with the State of Arkansas to fill in the gaps and sustain programs that are evidence based to change the direction of the trends.”