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Festival focuses on curbing substance abuse in Arkansas

A recovery center in Little Rock is giving back to the community in hopes of fighting the opioid epidemic. Vendors set up on Asher Avenue and offered resources.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Quality Living Center Director Dino Davis is turning the table and going to people in need, instead of waiting for them to come to him.

The center held its annual Spring Fest on Saturday, a festival that focuses on alcohol and substance abuse.

"A lot of people are scared to come forward and say that they have a problem," Davis said.

It's a challenge he has faced before.

"I also am a recovering addict," Davis said.

It's why he's so passionate about recovery.

Davis along with 15 vendors set up along Asher Avenue, giving people a chance to get information and find resources for themselves or a loved one battling addiction.

"The best way to combat it is to provide prevention, education and empowerment," Wards of Serenity Director Sybil Ward said.

Wards of Serenity is a faith-based organization that focuses on substance abuse and HIV prevention.

"Minority communities have been disproportionately impacted by substance abuse as well as HIV education," Ward said.

She believes this is because of the stigma behind substance abuse and sexually transmitted infections.

"That person is someone's child and is connected to a family," Ward said.

Davis added that crime is common in the community along Asher Avenue, so he's hoping that Spring Fest can bring people together in harmony while combating the increase in substance abuse.

"We're trying to kill two birds with one stone and help people stay out of jail," Davis said. "Stay off the drugs and alcohol and reunite back with their families and loved ones."

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