Opioid addiction is a major problem nationwide, and we are no different here in western Arkansas. We have seen lives ruined, families damaged, and numerous deaths associated with the abuse of narcotic pain killers. The odds are very high that everyone reading this knows someone who has a problem with opioid addiction. Very often what starts out as a prescription from a doctor for a legitimate medical issue escalates out of control and develops into a serious problem.

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Department of Psychiatry, has awarded a State Opioid Response (SOR) grant to Western Arkansas Counseling and Guidance Center commonly known as The Guidance Center. The grant will provide Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for people suffering from opioid use disorder.

The 12 months leading up to July 2020 there were 83,000 overdose deaths in the US, that’s an increase of 21 percent over the previous year. Buprenorphine/Naltrexone also known by the brand name Suboxone has shown to reduce mortality rates of persons with opioid use disorder by 39 percent over a 12-month period. Suboxone is a drug that both blocks the effects of opioids and relieves the withdrawal symptoms. The awarded grant will help remove the barriers for the uninsured and underinsured to receive treatment services. The grant will cover behavioral health counseling and the prescriber appointments for buprenorphine/naltrexone at clinics located in Crawford, Franklin, Logan, Polk, Scott, Sebastian counties.

The grant also includes funds to hire a Peer Recovery Support Specialist. A Peer is someone with sustained recovery and is licensed to help others in their journey of recovery through their own experience with recovery. The Guidance Center utilizes an interdisciplinary team of professionals in providing medication assisted treatment, offers flexible treatment scheduling including the opportunity to participate in telehealth.

This represents real help and a real chance to turn someone’s life around. If you or someone you know has a problem with opioid addiction please take advantage of this incredible opportunity to make a change.

If we can turn someone toward finding the help they need now rather than having to arrest them in the future we would much rather see that happen.

The Guidance Center in Polk County is located at 307 South Street in Mena. For additional in formation or make an appointment call 479-394-5277.

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