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AAC


DIRECTOR’S DESK


gling the two is complicated. As we begin to work solutions across the state on our mental health issue, I have been amazed at how far behind the curve Arkansas is on solutions for drug addiction. On a personal note, two good friends have recently sought rehabili- tation for their adult children with an opioid addiction. Both living in central Arkansas, there was hope that facilities in this area could handle detoxification and rehab for these good folks. To my surprise, and theirs I’m sure, both of the adult children sought treatment in the nearest available facility, in of all places, Alabama. Tat’s right, two addicted people that needed long-term treatment in Arkansas wound up going to the only state with a higher opioid prescription rate in our country, Alabama, for the long-term treatment and recovery program they needed. Tere are several opinions from reputable sources that give an estimate of the amount of time one needs to successfully complete such a program, and they typically range from six months to one year. How unfortunate that Arkansas does not have the infrastructure to have enough of these types of


programs in our state to meet the ever-growing demand. As evidenced by the crisis stabilization units we are work- ing on around the state, these facilities can be created and staffed in short order, but they are only 72-hour facilities, not the multiple-month facilities addiction rehabilitation demands. I hope as we begin the process of cleaning up the mess the pharmaceutical industry has allegedly created, this is taken into account. If this case produces financial resources to fix the problem, Arkansas must start at the ground floor when many of our counterparts have existing infrastructure. We can do this, and we will. Many of you have personal stories of someone’s despair as they struggle with addiction. What I so appreciate about our great state is that many of the same people will be the first to roll up their sleeves and get to work to create change and solutions. Just like with the CSUs, our work is cut out for us, but we have succeeded. Te opioid lawsuit is about to move very quickly — and our opportunity to change our state’s future will lie before us. County government is amazingly well positioned to seize these opportunities and just like with the CSUs, we will be on the front-line bearing hope.


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