The mission of the Division of Behavioral Health (DBHS) is to promote healthy and safe lifestyles free of the abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other legal and illegal drugs.
The Office of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention (OADAP), now known as the Division of Behavioral Health was created by Act 644 of 1977 and designated as the Agency to administer the Arkansas Comprehensive Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Plan and is located within the Department of Human Services, Division of Behavioral Health Services.
DBHS is the Single State Authority (SSA) responsible for the distribution of federal funds from the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant. It is also responsible for licensing institutions that operate Substance Abuse Treatment Programs, monitors programs for compliance with state regulations and is the State Opioid maintenance treatment authority.
DBHS is responsible for the establishment of a comprehensive and coordinated program for the prevention and treatment for alcohol and drug abuse in Arkansas. It has been the policy and philosophy of DBHS that the most effective services are community-based and community-supported. To support this, DBHS contracts with local programs to establish an effective network of services. The responsibilities of DBHS remain in funding, licensing, coordination, monitoring, technical assistance and programming in prevention, education, intervention, treatment, training and public information.
DBHS performs many functions including:
- Funding treatment and prevention programs statewide.
- Funding the Regional Alcohol and Drug Detoxification (RADD) Program.
- Funding Drug and Alcohol Safety Educational Programs (DASEP) statewide.
- Prevention services through a network of Prevention Resource Centers that build capacity at the community level to use environmental strategies for population level change in order to reduce demand.
- Providing statistical data on state, regional and national issues.
- Workplace prevention activates to help businesses deal with substance abuse issues.
- Workplace development for both prevention and treatment professionals.
- Funding and technical assistance for coalitions addressing underage drinking and alcohol related car crashes.
- Technical assistance in program development and modification.
DBHS acts as a strong advocate for both treatment and prevention services. Prevention, intervention and education are provided through community programs throughout the state. Through annual conferences and ongoing workshops, DBHS trains alcohol and drug abuse professionals. DBHS funds and oversee the community treatment centers, drug alcohol safety educational programs, and prevention resource centers that serve all 75 counties. DBHS also serves as a referral service for treatment and prevention services.
The Arkansas Alcohol and Drug Abuse Coordinating Council serves as a coordinating council for programs which propose to receive funding from DBHS. The Arkansas Drug Director serves as the chairperson of the Coordinating Council.
The position of the Arkansas Drug Director is placed within the Department of Human Services, Division of Behavioral Health Services and serves at the pleasure of the Governor. The Drug Director serves as the coordinator for development of an organizational framework to ensure that alcohol and drug programs and policies are well planned and coordinated.
The Coordinating Council has the responsibility for overseeing all planning, budgeting, and implementation of expenditure of state and federal funds allocated for alcohol and drug education, prevention, treatment, and law enforcement. The Coordinating Council has the following functions, powers and duties:
(a) All federal money received by the State of Arkansas for drug law enforcement, treatment, education or prevention shall be reviewed by the Coordinating Council for disbursement, accountability and evaluation.
(b) The Coordinating Council reviews and coordinates all school based drug education, prevention and awareness programs and efforts funded by the State.
The Coordinating Council has the authority to develop its rules of procedure to include the establishment of a committee structure for the approval of funding and other purposes. Committees include, but are not limited to:
(a) prevention; education and treatment committee chaired by the Director of the Office of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, and
(b) a law enforcement committee.
The total DBHS Budget for administration, treatment, and prevention services is approximately $25,000,000.00. DBHS administers programmatic funding sources that include General and Special State Revenues, Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Performance Partnership (SAPTPP) Block Grant, the Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant, and Social Services Block Grant funds.
At the present time DBHS is comprised of the following sections: Administration; Treatment Services which includes Program Compliance and Outcome Monitoring, Medical Services, and the Drug and Alcohol Safety Educational Program; Prevention Services and Data Management.
Requirements of Treatment and Prevention Providers
Funded treatment programs are required to provide priority admission in the following order:
- Pregnant women and injection drug users (IDU);
- Clients with the greatest clinical need;
- Clients from their Catchment Area;
- Clients from the State of Arkansas, and
- Clients from other states.
Funded Prevention Resource Centers are required to assist:
- With administration of the Arkansas Prevention Needs Assessment, conduct Synar (minor tobacco sales) compliance checks;
- Provide training and technical assistance for countywide coalitions;
- Operate a clearinghouse of prevention literature and referral resources;
- Address risk and protective factors associated with substance use, and
- Conduct training for businesses on workplace substance abuse issues.
DBHS is vested by ACA 20-64-901 et seq. with the authority and duty to establish and promulgate rules for licensure of alcohol and/or other drug abuse treatment programs in Arkansas. All persons, partnerships, associations, or corporations establishing, conducting, managing or operating and holding themselves out to the public as an alcohol and/or other drug abuse treatment program must be licensed by DBHS, unless expressly exempted from these requirements. Programs administered by the Department of Defense and/or the Veterans Administration are not required to be licensed by DBHS, but may voluntarily seek licensure.
DBHS is designated as the State Authority for governing Opioid maintenance treatment in Arkansas. Treatment programs providing Opioid maintenance treatment services comply with the Licensure Standards for Alcohol and/or Other Drug Abuse Treatment Programs, as well as applicable federal, state and local laws, including specific standards for Opioid maintenance treatment developed by DBHS. DBHS currently licenses 55 alcohol and/or drug treatment programs, 8 of which are funded.
Training and Credentialing
DBHS supports the Mid-South Addiction Training Network (MSATN) program administered by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Graduate School of Social Work to provide tuition free training opportunities, course work, and internships to those seeking addiction counselor certification for job placement in licensed treatment facilities.
DBHS also supports the Mid-South Prevention Institute program administered by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to provide tuition free training opportunities for those seeking certification as a prevention specialist. Prevention Resource Centers also conduct the core curriculum of Prevention Generalist. Working through the Arkansas Prevention Certification Board, certification as a prevention specialist or consultant can be obtained.
This certification is recognized internationally because of the relationship between Arkansas' Board and the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC).
DBHS contracts with the Arkansas Substance Abuse Certification Board (ASACB) who, in turn, contracts with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, College of Professional Studies, School of Social Work, MidSOUTH to provide permanent administrative support for the operations of the Board.
The Arkansas Substance Abuse Certification Board (ASACB) was incorporated in September 1986 to adopt standards for qualifying, evaluating, and certifying individuals as Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) Counselors. In early 1992, the ASACB affiliated with the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC), an organization which standardized minimum competency requirements for international testing and certification. The ASACB monitors counselors' continuing education and professional development to ensure that Arkansas clients receive quality care from competent addiction professionals.
Another credentialing authority for substance abuse counselors is the Arkansas State Board of Examiners of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors. The Board was created by Act 1588 of 1999 and 1708 of 2001 to provide regulatory authority over persons who hold themselves out to the public as Licensed Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors. The Board is responsible for establishing licensure and certification requirements, defining and promoting the practice of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors, setting the standards of qualifications, training, and experience for those who engage in the practice, and to maintain an office.