Two local church groups are joining together to help fight opioid addiction in Saline County and bring hope to those facing the issue.
Members of the Holland Chapel Baptist Church and Midtown Church will be canvassing the county on Saturday morning to bring information and other items to residents in hopes that those currently dealing with addiction will reach out for help.
They also hope to help prevent new addictions by giving away items such as time-locked prescription bottles and guides on how to talk to a doctor about helping to prevent addiction while still taking required medications. Information on how to properly dispose of unused medication, recognizing overdoses and other items will also be distributed in the bags.
“We just want to get out the information about how (people) can get help in the opioid crisis,” said Marlis Wynne, a member of Holland Chapel Baptist Church.
The idea for the project grew out of Holland Chapel’s Celebrate Recovery classes.
“The classes help anybody with addiction or really any kind of hurt or habit,” Wynne said.
The groups are planning to go to truck stops, restaurants, local businesses and other venues to drop off bags of information on the Celebrate Recovery Meetings along with the giveaway items.
“It’s just a lot of handy kind of things,” Wynne said.
Wynne also said they want to focus on reaching people who may find themselves in a situation where a person has overdosed. There are resources available to help someone in that position. Naloxone, also known as Narcan, can be administered by someone to temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. It can be purchased as most pharmacies.
“There are classes that we do for the Narcan,” Wynne said. “If anyone wants to get trained on Narcan, it’s free. We do classes and they are scheduled based on the need. If we get a certain amount of people that call and request the class, we will schedule one. They will also get a free Narcan kit, so that they can revive someone who has had an opioid overdose.”
The groups will also be distributing information on the Arkansas Overdose Program which is a “Good Samaritan” law that protects people from arrest for simple possession if they call 911 to help someone who is overdosing. Arkansas’ Joshua Ashley-Pauley Act provides immunity from arrest, charge and prosecution for simple possession for those who seek medical assistance for others who are overdosing.
“We are trying to make people more aware of the resources available,” Wynne said. “We want people to not be addicted to the opioids in the first place, but we also want them to know about all the resources that are available to help them if they are.”
The groups will meet at Holland Chapel at 1 p.m. today to assemble the bags. The groups will leave the church on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. to canvass the county.
“We want people to know that help is out there,” Wynne said. “We thinks it’s a really important thing to get as much coverage as possible and as much information out there as we can.”
For information on joining a free Celebrate Recovery class, contact Johnny Cupples at Holland Chapel Baptist Church at firstname.lastname@example.org.