The Sebastian County Opioid Task Force is hosting a summit at Grace Community Church in Fort Smith this Friday from noon to 5 p.m. that includes four speakers. Seating is limited and registration is available here.
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control, toured the region with U.S. Rep. Steve Womack of Rogers. Their visit included a discussion of the opioid epidemic and an effort to reduce new HIV infections in Arkansas.
Sebastian County leaders have applied for a $750,000 federal grant to start a mental health court similar to the county's drug and veterans’ courts. County Judge David Hudson says a mental health court would provide long-term treatment beyond care provided at the Crisis Stabilization Unit that opened in March. Both the CSU and the mental health court would allow low-level offenders to stay out of jail or prison and would instead address the mental health issues that contributed to their arrests.
This week, Sebastian County leaders celebrated the opening of the first of four crisis stabilization units in Arkansas. The Sebastian County Five West Crisis Stabilization Unit is located in Fort Smith and operated by the Western Arkansas Counseling and Guidance Center. The CSU will give local law enforcement officers responding to a mental health crisis call another option besides taking that person to jail. CSU staff will provide voluntary short-term treatment for up to 72 hours and then ideally get the patient to agree to inpatient or outpatient long-term care.