Health coalition receives $25,000


The Madison County Health Coalition received $25,000 from the Arkansas Opioid Recovery Partnership (ARORP) to attend personalized training “to create and maintain safe, healthy and drug-free communities globally,” according to a news release.

Nancy Marsh Nieman with the local coalition attended a check presentation ceremony in Little Rock on Friday. 

“Most of our grants are reimbursable, so it’s unusual that we get a check up front, which makes it easier because we don’t have a lot of money in our treasury sort of thing, and so this is really helping somebody like us who’s small in that you get the money up front to spend, so that helps a lot,” Nieman said.

“It’s mainly training and education this year, and then you apply for federal funds hopefully the next year, so in 2024 hopefully we’ll start having some training locally.”

The news release said, “The ARORP, an initiative of the Arkansas Municipal League and the Association of Arkansas Counties, represents an unprecedented, united front between local governments to abate the extreme loss caused by the opioid epidemic in Arkansas communities. The Partnership oversees the strategic disbursement of opioid settlement dollars at the city and county levels, working to reduce overdose deaths through prevention, treatment, enforcement, and recovery. ARORP’s message is simple: be bold, stand together and commit to abating opioid misuse and addiction in Arkansas.”

ARORP disbursed $325,000 in settlement funds to 13 community coalitions across the state. Besides Madison County, Carroll County Hometown Health and Newton County Hometown Health also received $25,000.

The health coalitions applied for the grant money. One requirement was that the coalitions had to agree to mentor another coalition in the state.

Nieman said the Madison County group will mentor a group in Cleburne County in hopes that they can apply for ARORP money next year.

The $25,000 is to be used to “strengthen and develop their coalitions. The funding comes from the Coalition Partnership Empowerment project through ARORP, an initiative to empower grassroots change across Arkansas cities and counties to remediate and repair the opioid epidemic in Arkansas,” the release said.

Nieman said, “We’ll be writing a strategic plan and one of the things I think is going to be exciting to me is that when we write this strategic plan this year we can include the new judge, the new sheriff, the new mayors in Huntsville and St. Paul, so as we make a strategic plan we’ll have all these people giving their input, versus us just writing the plan in the past and saying, ‘Here’s our plan now would you do this for us,’ as a coalition type of thing. This will be a time when we can have input as we plan what we want to do about preventing drugs and trying to keep our youth away from them.”

Nieman said the $25,000 will pay for two people to attend a national conference in mid-2023 and in January 2024, as well as sending two people for three weeks of training in Arkansas.

Coalitions receiving the funding will attend specialized training with the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America.

“CADCA’s work with the Arkansas Opioid Recovery Partnership, and throughout the greater state of Arkansas, will equip substance use and misuse prevention coalitions with the training they need to become sustainable, transformative forces. Community coalitions continue to be at the epicenter of addressing the opioid epidemic in their communities, so it is vital that we can train them to promptly and effectively initiate action,” said CADCA’s President and CEO, General Barrye L. Price.

The release said, “At the end of the project, coalitions will be trained to apply for the federal Drug Free Communities Support Program, which could put over $16 million back into Arkansas community coalitions over the next 10 years.”

Partnership Deputy Director Tenesha Barnes said during the Friday conference, “Coalitions are one of the most effective ways to empower communities to prevent substance misuse locally. It is a privilege to see these 13 coalitions honored for their work and empowered to continue protecting their communities against the dangers of substance misuse.”

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