Legal Aid of Arkansas has been awarded $200,000 to incorporate civil legal services as part of the prevention, treatment, and recovery protocol in Arkansas’ targeted response to the opioid crisis.
The goal of this project, Legal Aid as a Response to the Opioid Crisis in Arkansas (LAROCA), is to give access to free legal services to individuals and families impacted by the opioid crisis to assist stabilize their environment and increase the likelihood of success in recovery. The opioid crisis’ devastating impact surges from the individual suffering from opioid use disorder to their families, sending ripples as far as the outskirts of their community. Legal Aid provides free legal services focused on access to safe and affordable housing, consumer rights, protection from domestic violence and public benefit.
Legal Aid is collaborating with community organizations across northeast Arkansas over the next year to develop a plan to incorporate legal services as another service they provide to their clients. Partner organizations include In His Wings Ministry, Breaking Bonds Ministries, Mid-South Health Systems, Restoration House Ministries, Out of the Dark Inc., Black River Area Development Corp and The Haven of Northeast Arkansas.
“At Legal Aid, our mission is to improve the lives of the most humble among us through equal access to justice. So many Arkansans affected by substance use disorders, particularly opioid use, simply do not have the ability to pay for a lawyer to help them navigate the legal barriers they face. With this project, we join other community partners in a holistic approach to the opioid crisis troubling our state by providing legal interventions to those who need them,” said Helen Gratil, Legal Aid’s Director of Mission Engagement and project director for the LAROCA grant.
“We are serving a growing number of clients with opioid use disorder. In many cases, the clients and their families are facing issues where civil legal aid would be a tremendous help. By giving them access to those services, our goal is to reduce the stress from those issues and hopefully increase the likelihood they’re going to be successful in their treatment” said Ruth Allison Dover, Executive Director of Mid-South Health Systems.
This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration as part of its 2019 Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Planning (RCORP- Planning). The purpose of RCORP-Planning is to support treatment for and prevention of substance use disorder, including opioid use disorder, in rural counties at the highest risk for substance use disorder.
Legal Aid is a nonprofit, public interest law firm that provides free legal services to low-income Arkansans with civil legal problems across 31 counties. For inquiries, please contact Matt Henry at 870-972-9224 ext.6314.