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Montgomery and Polk County drug courts to receive funding award and naloxone kits


April 15, 2024

(Mena, Arkansas) – Administrative Office of the Courts officials presented a $43,788 award to the Montgomery and Polk County Adult Drug Courts on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, at 12:00 p.m. in Judge Andy Riner’s courtroom. Montgomery County Adult Drug Court will receive $15,891. Polk County Adult Drug Court will receive $27,896. The AOC officials also delivered a supply of naloxone so that every courtroom in Montgomery and Polk County has the life-saving medication on hand.

“These funds will better equip the Montgomery and Polk County Adult Drug Courts with the resources it needs to address the ongoing opioid epidemic within the community,” Chief Justice Kemp said in announcing the award. “As a former drug court judge and as chair of the Specialty Court Program Advisory Committee, I understand that the state’s drug courts, and other specialty courts, play a critical role in addressing the cruel impact the opioid crisis is having in our communities.”

The funds are part of a $1 million award to the Administrative Office of the Courts by the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office and must be used to provide restorative services for drug court participants, including transitional and chemical-free housing, substance abuse and mental health services, peer support recovery services, childcare assistance, and educational services and programming.

Marty Sullivan, Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, also delivered Naloxone kits to equip each courtroom at the courthouse with a supply of naloxone. The naloxone medication helps overdose victims survive by blocking and reversing the effects of opioid drugs on a person’s body. Funding for the naloxone kits was provided by the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Given their close work with those suffering from opioid addiction, it is important that our courts and court personnel have a readily available supply of Naloxone on hand,” Sullivan said.

Each kit contains two treatments of Nalaxone for opioid overdose, as well as other items such as for administering mouth-to-mouth. Sullivan said he is delivering identical kits to every drug court in Arkansas. He also felt positive every government building within Arkansas will more than likely have similar kits, probably located somewhere close to where defibrillators are located, much like Arkansas schools.

In addition, by January 1, 2024, each public high school campus must have an opioid overdose rescue kit located at Automated External Defibrillator (AED) sites across each campus. The location of each rescue kit must be registered with the school nurse and school resource officer.

According to data from the Arkansas Department of Health, there were 487 deaths from overdose statewide in 2022, the most recent full year for which data is available.

In the event that dosages require usage, Judge Riner said that the AOC would be notified. That would serve a dual purpose: Replenishing a depleted dose as well as AOC being able to track usage vs. replacement if the dosage expires. In January, the FDA announced an extension on the shelf life of NARCAN (naloxone hydrochloride) 4 mg nasal spray products now lasting 3-4 years.

Riner, drug court officers, and peer support specialists were very appreciative of the opioid rescue kits. They also appeared overwhelmed receiving the sizable cash awards that could be the difference in someone making an effort to get clean and turning their life around or spinning out of control.

In March, Riner addressed the Polk County Quorum Court to explain the details regarding establishing the Special Revenue Grant Fund to be called the Adult Drug Court-Opioid Settlement Fund. Ordinance No. 2024-7 passed unanimously.

There was another Ordinance of the Polk County Quorum Court Creating the Position of Peer Support Specialist. Riner agreed to revisit the Quorum Court to update members on how the position is working out. Ordinance No. 2024-8 passed unanimously.

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