BNPD hires peer recovery specialist to help with substance abuse


Article by Benton Courier | Link to complete article |

Benton Police Department has added a specialist to help community members in their recovery journey.

Sean Willits is the department’s new peer recovery specialist and is available now to help Benton residents, according to a news release issued Tuesday by the Benton Police Department.

The department was recently awarded funds through the Arkansas Opioid Recovery Partnership to form an Overdose Response Team. Overdose Response Teams through ARORP enable law enforcement agencies to hire an overdose investigator and a peer recovery specialist.

Chief Scotty Hodges said while the investigator seeks out suppliers for prosecution with assistance from the DEA Tactical Drug Division, the Peer Recovery Specialist provides counseling and follow-up to overdose victims regarding treatment and recovery services, as well as engages in community education and empowerment regarding substance abuse and recovery.

“Benton PD is so grateful for this opportunity to expand efforts in curbing the substance abuse epidemic,” said Hodges. “We’re excited to work with Sean to see more meaningful outcomes for our community members in need.”

Willits, a certified peer supervisor in Arkansas, was hired to help develop the new Overdose Response Team and implement peer services. He is in long-term recovery and now works to help others struggling with substance use disorder. He not only provides peer services, but also professional supervision to other certified peer recovery specialists in the state.

“I have years of lived experience and two years of experience working for Hot Springs PD providing this service,” said Willits, “and I’m happy to see that program still going strong.”

Willits will be able to assist members of the community in accessing much needed resources for recovery. He will also be organizing some community events and providing educational classes and Narcan training for all members of the community. More information will be provided on these events and classes as it becomes available.

Anyone struggling with substance use who wants help can reach out to Willits at 501-239-2147 (office) or 501-326-5222 (cell).

Arkansas received master settlement funding from the National Prescription Opiate Litigation that was split evenly between the Arkansas Municipal League, the Arkansas Association of Counties, and the Office of the Attorney General. In 2022, the Arkansas Municipal League and the Arkansas Association of Counties came together to create the Arkansas Opioid Recovery Partnership (ARORP), which represents an unprecedented, united front between the representatives of local government

against opioid misuse in Arkansas.

Using the Arkansas Opioids MOU, settlement agreements, and court orders approving settlements and bankruptcies, ARORP funds evidenced-based programs and strategies to abate the opioid epidemic in Arkansas’s cities and counties.

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