Arkansas Rural Opioid Outreach Project

Arkansas Rural Health Partnership was one of ten organizations across the country to receive the HRSA Rural Health Opioid Grant this year. The Arkansas Delta Rural Health Opioid Project (AD-RHOP) was funded for $750,000 to address opioid use disorder (OUD) in Southeast Arkansas over the next three years.

The Arkansas Delta RHOP will expand locally available screening, education, outreach, case management and counseling services for those at-risk or diagnosed with OUD in eight counties including Arkansas, Ashley, Bradley, Chicot, Dallas, Desha, Drew, and Jefferson counties. The project is a collaborative effort between the ARHP and C.A.S.A. (Center for Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment) which will provide behavioral health services in the eight county region named in the grant.

The joint RHOP is unique in that it begins in the clinical setting at the local clinic and navigates the patient to counseling services provided by local behavioral health experts. ARHP hospitals and participating clinics will be able to provide and expand opioid use disorder counseling services by focusing on physician and community education and training to identify individuals at-risk and guide them to recovery by providing case management at the clinic site as well as counseling services via telehealth with a licensed counselor. This project truly represents a community effort that puts all the pieces in place to address this issue.

Drug abuse, specifically prescription drug abuse, was recognized as a serious community problem in the mandatory IRS Community Health Needs Assessments conducted by member hospitals in 2016. According to ARHP executive director Mellie Bridewell, “Our hospitals are recognizing that they must take a leadership role in addressing community health issues. They also acknowledge that they can’t make a difference without involving local organizations, officials, and professionals. This project brings Southeast Arkansas healthcare organizations, mental and behavioral health organizations, the legal system, and social service organizations together to begin to address these issues we so desperately need to tackle.”

Services Offered

  • SAMHSA’s SBIRT Training for Healthcare Providers
  • Medication Assistance Training (MAT) for Healthcare Providers
  • OUD Case Management & Counseling Services
  • OUD Community Education & Awareness

Task Force Initiatives

We believe that a special kind of magic happens when community members and organizations sit at the same table to tackle the most complicated and critical health concerns of a region. To this effect, in 2017 the ARHP formed two task force groups to support and extend the reach of the Rural Health Opioid & Mental Health Outreach Programs (FORHP/HRSA).  Task force members meet on a regular basis to discuss ongoing project efforts, needed policy and organizational infrastructure change, and sustainability. Foundational principles of our task force initiatives include:

  • Utilize and build upon existing resources and effective models, sharing whenever possible to expand reach without stressing limited infrastructure.
  • Promote an open exchange of ideas, concerns, and facts to develop innovative, community-driven solutions.
  • Find your community champions and get them involved.
  • Local hospitals should take a leadership role in the overall health of the community.
  • Never stop building relationships with local, state, and federal partners.
  • Always aim to give more than you receive.