Natural State Recovery Centers is repurposing the former Oak Grove High School in the Marche community of north Pulaski County to serve as its base of operations. On Thursday, March 12, state officials including Gov. Asa Hutchinson joined CEO Christopher Dickie for a groundbreaking ceremony to kick off the transition.
“We have a high school that has been, for many years in this community, a place of education and a place of hope,” said Arkansas Drug Director Kirk Lane. “Now, it is going to be both of those, and a place of recovery.”
Natural State bought the vacant school from the Pulaski County Special School District earlier this year and will offer inpatient and outpatient recovery treatments for men and women from the new center. According to earlier reports, the center is expected to open in the summer.
Hutchinson said the new recovery center will make a difference in people’s lives and leave an impact lasting generations.
Paula Cunningham, the manager of medical policy administration at Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield, who lost her 21-year-old son to opioid overdose in 2018, believes the center will help “break the stigma” surrounding addiction recovery and treatment.
Instead of cutting a ribbon or symbolically breaking ground with shovels, Dickie and state officials including state opioid response coordinator Jimmy McGill hammered through a “stigma” wall.