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Two Arkansas healthcare providers create first-ever substance use disorder program in the state

Two of the big names in Arkansas healthcare are coming together for a program this state has never seen.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — THV11 is focused on Saving a Generation from the opioid epidemic and two of the big names in Arkansas healthcare are coming together for a program this state has never seen.

While most of the medical talk in 2020 has been about the coronavirus, "Opioid crisis was a pandemic long before COVID came along," reminded Dr. William Jones, the medical director at CHI St. Vincent. 

Healthcare providers are working harder than ever to stop the opioid epidemic. "This is not different than diabetes or COPD, " added Bradford Health's CEO Mike Rickman, "this is a health issue that requires maintenance." 

Maintenance that has been hard to come by in Arkansas. 

"There really is no high quality comprehensive program that takes you through the continuum of care for addiction," he said. 

Until now.

Bradford Health Services and CHI St. Vincent are teaming up for the first substance use disorder program in the state. 

"It'll be a one-stop-shop at ST. Vincent's," said Rickman, "all the way from detox to residential stay, which is very unique."

St. Vincent's has been working to turn an unused area into an in-patient space that will soon help up to 40 Arkansans. If you're one of the estimated 6-14% of the U.S. population suffering from some form of addiction, they want you to know it just takes one phone call.

"When you make that phone call," said Dr. Jones, "we're going to hold your hand. And we're not going to let go."

"We take a lot of pride," added Rickman, "that we get people on the path to recovery and we stick with them." 

The numbers show only about one in ten people with an addiction will pick up the phone. But they're hoping with this new option, close to home, that number will change.

"That's the goal," he said, "and I think we're going to going to have great success in Arkansas."

Rickman said insurance does cover this in a majority of cases. For those without insurance, he said there are scholarship programs and sister organizations that help.

If you would like help with an addiction, you can call Bradford Health at 866-943-5859.