With the opioid epidemic firmly entrenched in Arkansas and showing no signs of going away, helpers are stepping up to train regular people on how to recognize overdoses and intervene so people can survive them.

The Wolfe Street Foundation, a long-standing addiction recovery resource, will begin offering training this month for any and all takers. A $14,000 grant from the Arkansas Opioid Recovery Partnership will pay for the trainings, and graduates will get two doses of naloxone, the nose spray that can save lives of people in the throes of opioid overdose.

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Remember in 2018 when a 16-year-old student at Little Rock Central High reportedly overdosed on heroin but survived because a fellow student was carrying Narcan, the naloxone nasal spray? That anecdote, plus millions of others just like it involving prescription pills, fentanyl and heroin, offer proof that opioid addiction is a real problem. Now’s a fine time to update your first aid skills so you know what to do in case of overdose.

“We are scheduling trainings now, targeted at family and community members throughout Pulaski County,” Wolfe Street Foundation Executive Director Justin Buck said. “Our training opportunities will be led by certified peer recovery support specialists who will share how to recognize signs of overdose, how to use naloxone to reverse overdoses, and where to find help for people seeking recovery from opioid and other substance use disorders.”

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Trainings will happen at Wolfe Street’s Recovery Community Center at 1015 S. Louisiana St., but they’ll also come out on-site trainings on request.

The first training will be Saturday, Jan. 28, from 10:30-11:30 a.m. The plan is to hold trainings the last Saturday of every month at the Wolfe Street Center, Buck said.

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The Arkansas Opioid Recovery Partnership combines the forces of cities, towns and counties in Arkansas to channel money from opiate-related court settlements toward projects to help people recover from addiction. They partnership officially launched in 2022, with plans to work with law enforcement, homeless shelters and other street-level partners.

Here’s a press release about the upcoming trainings at Wolfe Street.

Partnership Brings Life-Saving Naloxone Community Hero Project to Pulaski County
[Little Rock, Arkansas] – Opioid use and overdoses continued to rise through 2022, but a new program in Pulaski County is taking aim at the problem. The Wolfe Street Foundation has received over $14,000 through the Naloxone Community Hero Project of the Arkansas Opioid Recovery Partnership (ARORP), and starting this month, the Wolfe Street Foundation will begin training people to recognize the signs of overdose and use naloxone nasal spray to save lives.
Executive Director Justin Buck says the program is about more than just overdose.
“We’ve been helping people survive and recover from alcohol and other substance use disorders for over 40 years,” Buck said. “And the continued growth of fentanyl poisonings and opioid overdoses across the country are driving us to do even more in the community.”
Thanks to the collaboration of Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde, North Little Rock Mayor Terry Hartwick, and Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr., the Wolfe Street Foundation will receive a credit from the established Arkansas Naloxone Bank to obtain naloxone for its dissemination to families and community members in Pulaski County.
“Supporting this initiative was an easy decision,” said Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde. “We want to do everything we can to curb the abuse of opioids in Arkansas, and the Wolfe Street Foundation’s participation in this project is imperative to fighting opioid addiction in our state.”
ARORP, an initiative of the Arkansas Municipal League and the Association of Arkansas Counties, represents an unprecedented, united front between the representatives of local government to abate the loss of life caused by the opioid epidemic in Arkansas communities. ARORP oversees the strategic disbursement of opioid settlement dollars at the city and county levels and works to reduce overdose deaths through prevention, treatment, enforcement, and recovery.
“This partnership represents wrongs made right, a significant step to abate the loss families and individuals have experienced due to opioid misuse and addiction. Every dollar received by Arkansas cities and counties will be dedicated to targeted, evidence-based solutions on a local level,” Partnership Director Kirk Lane said in a press conference held last November.
Training opportunities will be held throughout central Arkansas beginning in late January free of charge to community members. But the support doesn’t stop there.
“Through our peer support programs, family support meetings, and regular mutual aid group meetings, we’re committed to supporting people and families suffering from opioid and other substance use
disorders for the long haul,” said Buck. The Wolfe Street Foundation was recognized in 2022 as the state’s best Recovery Community Organization. Buck says that’s because of their commitment to partnerships and their mantra – “We Recover Together”.

For more information on naloxone overdose reversal training, visit www.wolfestreet.org or call (501) 372-5662.