LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansans continue the fight against the opioid crisis by opening conversations about breaking stigmas.

The Little Rock Rotary Club met Tuesday, drawing in community members to discuss how Arkansas can curb the state level of the national opioid crisis.

Walking down the halls of the Wolfe Street Foundation, Monte Payne told the story of his journey with recovery.

“I have been blessed with the gift of sobriety, and something about a gift is about what you give you give away and giving away your sobriety helps you keep your sobriety,” Payne said.
Monte said it all began when he was living in Los Angeles when his drug use started.

It followed him to Arkansas after his family moved and now he has been sober for over 20 years.
“I couldn’t stay sober unless I had help,” Payne said. “I had realized later that the difference between using drugs and being in recovery is using drugs keeps you separate, being sober you have to be together.”

Arkansas Opioid Recovery Partnership Director Kirk Lane expressed that the statistics facing the state of Arkansas are something that needs to be talked about.

“Arkansas is one of the top five opioid prescribing rates in the nation,” Lane said. “We are at the lowest point we have been in 16 years, and we are still number two in the nation.”

The Little Rock Rotary Club held a panel Tuesday afternoon to have conversations with business leaders on how the community can curb the opioid crisis.

“You got to start somewhere,” Payne stated. “If you don’t have the panel discussions you show with your actions that you don’t care.”

The panel also urged business leaders and people in the community to carry Narcan so they can be better prepared to save a life.