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First Responder Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act

First Responder Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act

Point of Contact: Jamal Williams, FR CARA Grants Manager             

FR CARA conducts prevention and education initiatives to reduce prescription drug/opioid overdose-related deaths and other problems associated with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) in Arkansas Delta counties. The program supports effective overdose prevention and referral services, including naloxone distribution and training in its use. The focus is on 22 Delta Counties (Arkansas, Ashley, Bradley, Calhoun, Chicot, Clay, Cross, Desha, Drew, Greene, Independence, Jackson, Lawrence, Lee, Mississippi, Monroe, Phillips, Prairie, Randolph, St. Francis, Union, and Woodruff) that have not received community-level overdose prevention and intervention services funded through similar grants received by DHS/DAABHS.

Vulnerabilities of rural opioid users often include poverty, low health literacy, high rates of incarceration, limited access to healthcare and emergency services, etc. Such challenges may put individuals at risk for overdose and death, impact their ability to seek treatment, and increase potential for encounters with law enforcement and/or involvement of child welfare agencies. Limited access to substance use treatment and counseling in the Arkansas Delta area, along with limited ability to pay for services and intense social stigma, make OUD treatment and recovery particularly challenging. Emergency medical care is challenging due to distances that EMTs must travel to respond to a call; these areas will benefit greatly from naloxone training and distribution to local law enforcement/first responders and family/support network members of patients recently discharged from OUD treatment.

  • Arkansas Naloxone Project – Criminal Justice Institute provides education and health literacy training to decrease misunderstanding and improve communication between individuals and their doctors, educate first responders on administration of naloxone, and family members on recognition of overdose and administration of naloxone. Media Campaign – Statewide media campaign centered on calling 911 in event of an overdose. The dangers of misuse of opioids, and the importance of speaking up about addiction concerns. Naloxone is purchased to supply a first set of doses for responders and for OUD patients’ families after being trained on administration. This project is funded by DAABHS via a variety of federal funding opportunities and Blue and You Foundation -First Responder training (Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS, and School Nurses) has resulted in over 932 saves from naloxone administrations to date (12-2019), over 5000 trained and kits disseminated. On-line training courses were developed.
  • Arkansas “Don’t Run, Call 911” media program is designed to educate Arkansas on the Joshua Ashley-Pauley Act.
    • Narcansas App – Free app provided to Arkansans on multiple formats, providing access to training and instruction on life saving naloxone and services for prevention, treatment and recovery provided by the state of Arkansas. Click here to visit


Striking Out Opioid Abuse Day – May 1st, 2022