Substance Abuse Resource Assistance Coalition (SARAC)

What is SARAC?

AFMC, with funding from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), recruits and leads a consortium of organizations that are serving people in Howard and Hempstead counties. Called the “Substance Abuse Resource Assistance Coalition” (SARAC), the coalition coordinates services for young victims of opioid and substance misuse crime, and help families find resources and services.

Children and youth who are neglected by addicted parents or victimized in their communities are the most vulnerable population impacted by the opioid crisis. Children are caught in the middle without the health care and social service resources they need to build resilience against these upheavals. If you want to find out more or get involved, please submit the contact us form below.

What Does SARAC Do?

SARAC works with the community to strengthen and promote healthy families. SARAC provides families with comprehensive family-centered services for both the child welfare and substance abuse treatment systems in efforts to foster resilience. AFMC manages the SARAC resource center that responds to referrals initiated by community partners such as health care providers, law enforcement agencies, courts and schools. The SARAC resource center also accepts self-referrals which allows families to contact the center for resource assistance without a partner referral.

When children are identified by a care-delivery partner, the partner will submit a referral to the SARAC resource center. SARAC staff will conduct an assessment to identify family needs and local resources. An individualized service coordination plan will be developed to ensure continued access to needed services to maximize healing, recovery, and resilience for these children and their families. Resource center staff will assist families of youth ages 0 to 18 years by:

  • Identifying and coordinating resources
  • Finding medical providers
  • Employment assistance; and
  • Applying for health insurance, nutrition programs and utility assistance.

Use this form to submit a referral.

What Are Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)?

Childhood experiences, positive and negative, have a huge impact on child, family, and community development. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are traumatic events that happen during an individual’s upbringing. More than 15% of adults in Hempstead and Howard counties have experienced four or more ACEs.

SARAC raises community awareness about ACEs and building resilience, specifically among medical and behavioral health providers. AFMC-certified trainers work with SARAC’s frontline partners to provide trauma-informed care training and screening tools. A trauma-informed approach provides a framework that involves understanding, recognizing, and responding to trauma’s effect and building a sense of control and empowerment. Also, SARAC offers comprehensive assistance to parents to address behaviors that predispose them to child maltreatment. While individual resilience is important, a community-wide focus on resilience and trauma-informed care will lead to healing.

To learn more about ACEs, please visit

Why Hempstead and Howard Counties?

Residents of Hempstead and Howard counties live in a medically underserved area. Coupled with a scarcity of medical and social services, they also face a higher-than-average opioid prescription-drug rate and high levels of illicit drug misuse. The stigma about mental health treatment makes opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment and recovery particularly challenging.

  Hempstead Howard
% of Adults who experienced four or more ACEs (BRFSS, 2018) 19.3 15.9
Foster Care Rate per 1,000 Children (DHS, 2019) 6.7 4.3
Child Maltreatment Rate per 1,000 Children (DHS, 2019) 5.2 3.5


As shown below, Arkansas Prescription Drug Monitoring Program data shows that Hempstead County had 76.3 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons and Howard County had 106 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons. Howard County ranks as the 33rd highest opioid prescription rate in the state and Hempstead County ranks as the 69th highest opioid prescription rate in the state.

2019 Opioid Prescription Rate per 100 persons – Arkansas State Rate: 93.2

 The 2019 Arkansas Prevention Needs Assessment shows for all Arkansas students the average response to the question “on how many occasions have you used prescription drugs not prescribed to you” was 5.6 average occasions for lifetime use and 2.3 average occasions for use in the past 30 days. Both Hempstead and Howard counties had lower average responses than the state average responses for prescription drug misuse for lifetime use and use in the past 30 days. For prescription drug misuse in the past 30 days, Hempstead County ranked the 16th highest in the state and Howard County ranked the 33rd highest in the state. Hempstead County students’ average response for prescription drug misuse was 5.1 average occasions for lifetime use and 2.9 average occasions in the past 30 days. Howard County responses for prescription drug misuse averaged 5.2 occasions for lifetime use and 2.4 occasions for use in the past 30 days.

Average response to “on how many occasions have you used prescription drugs not prescribed to you…” in 2019


Arkansas Department of Health

Dr. Michelle Boone DNP, APRN
Compassion Health & Wellness Clinic, PLLC

Dr. Brian Caldwell – Howard Memorial Hospital Medical Clinics

Dr. Clay Ferguson – Ferguson Healthcare

Visit website

Dr. Sandra Sooman – Premier Pediatrics

Hope Police Department

Hope Public Schools

Contact Us

If you have a question or comment, please use the form below. If you are in need of services and reside within Howard or Hempstead Counties, please contact the SARAC Resource Center at 866-253-1164 or use the online referral form.


This website was produced by AFMC under 2019-V3-GX-0041, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this document are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. Revised March 2021.