NEWS

Ouachita Behavioral received award for Narcan training, distribution

Susan Smith, the chief operating officer of Ouachita Behavioral Health and Wellness, discusses a grant OBHAW received to provide NARCAN and training on how to use the drug to reverse an opioid overdose. – Photo by Lance Porter of The Sentinel-Record

Sentinel Record | By James Leigh | May 13, 2023 at 4:04 a.m. | Link to original article

A total of 240 Narcan kits are now available in Garland County for free thanks to an award from the Arkansas Opioid Recovery Partnership.

Ouachita Behavioral Health and Wellness was recently awarded a Hero Project award through ARORP for the distribution of Narcan, also known as naloxone, and training people on how to use the drug.

“You can apply to get the free Narcan spray to distribute and train to persons, and in this case it would be in Garland County, Hot Springs area,” Susan Smith, the chief operating officer for OBHAW, said.

“When you apply you also have to get the support of your city manager, Bill Burrough, and then the county judge, Judge (Darryl) Mahoney, to also sign off on the application of the grant. So we got their support as well to receive the Narcan.”

Smith said the training is for both the OBHAW staff as well as for anyone who requests the drug.

“We’ll have all of our staff trained on how to use Narcan,” she said. “We can also train any client that comes in for services and feels like they may need Narcan or maybe they have family members who (need) Narcan. We can also train any community members individually if they’re interested and they feel like they need a can of Narcan spray on them.

“We have an email,┬ánarcan@obhaw.org, that someone could email, and that goes to our trainers on site. The training consists of a pretest and then a post-test. You go through a PowerPoint that has the instructions about how to use the Narcan, when you might need to use the Narcan, and also has educational pieces in it about what opioid overdose is.”

When it comes to dealing with opioid abuse, many people are concerned about whether they will be questioned about their personal history or why they want Narcan.

“With our clients, of course, we’re going to know their history, but if it was an individual from the community, we don’t ask those specific questions,” Smith said. “We’re just going to educate them.

“They’re obviously there for a reason. Maybe they know someone that has an addiction that they’re worried about, so we don’t ask personal questions. If they want to come in and email us at┬ánarcan@obhaw.org, we can get just get them set up and get them trained. And if they have questions, they certainly can ask the trainers questions about maybe an individual or themselves, too.”

Smith said that in 2021, the overdose rate in Arkansas was 20.52 for every 100,000 Arkansans.

“Arkansas is the second highest prescriber (of opioids) in the United States,” she said. “In Garland County in 2021, we had 30 overdose deaths. Of course, fentanyl is becoming more and more popular as well, and so that could possibly go up. But Narcan will work on fentanyl overdoses as well.”

The drug will work for any opioid overdose, she said, including prescription narcotics, fentanyl, heroin and carfentanil, which is approximately 10,000 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than fentanyl, Smith said.

Those who have or think they have a substance abuse addiction are encouraged to visit OBHAW’s walk-in clinic Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

“So we also have a medication-assisted treatment program at Ouachita that is specific for opiate abuse,” Smith said.

“It also treats alcohol abuse, and then we have outpatient substance abuse counseling, as well. So if someone wanted to get set up, felt like they had an addiction or wanted to be assessed to see if they had a problem or not, they can come in through our walk-in clinic and we can get them set up and assessed and get them set up with some counseling.”

For more information about OBHAW, call their Warm Line at 501-385-1588 or visit https://www.obhaw.org.

 

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