Grant covers 18 rural counties including Logan, Franklin

The Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care has received a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration to help 18 rural Arkansas counties, including Logan and neighboring Franknlin, address the effects of adverse childhood experiences on opioid misuse and opioid-overdose deaths.

ACEs can include emotional or physical abuse, neglect, family instability, poverty or exposure to violence.

Nationally, Arkansas ranks as one of the worst for poverty, incarceration and access to drug abuse treatment. Arkansas also has the highest percentage of children with at least one ACE and at least one in six Arkansas children have experienced three or more ACEs.

People who have had multiple ACEs are the most likely to experience problems with addiction and opioid misuse. In the targeted counties, more than 20 percent of adults have experienced four or more ACEs. The HRSA has designated these counties as medically underserved areas.

“ACEs can negatively affect children’s mental and physical health into adulthood and throughout their lives,” said Chad T. Rodgers, MD, chief medical officer of AFMC and a board-certified pediatrician. “Arkansas’ high level of ACEs goes hand-in-hand with our state’s high incidence of opioid abuse.”

In implementing the one-year Rural Arkansas Planning Taskforce for Opioid Response (RAPTOR) grant, AFMC will partner with the University of Arkansas For Immediate Release for Medical Sciences’ Center for Distance Health and Unity Health. Both are experienced in providing health care services in rural areas.