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A New Beginning. In 2008 the State of Arkansas was ranked No. 1 in the entire nation for teens misusing pain narcotics and in order to address this rapid growth of teen addiction at the local level Out of the Dark Inc. established Out of the Dark School Chapters (ODSC) in the spring of 2009 to provide community support and to network with the school representatives working with our youth on issues such as chemical addiction awareness and leadership development. Since then the prevention/leadership program has grown from a few students to now involving over 1,000 students and sponsors from every public school district, with some districts having multiple chapters in Craighead County, Arkansas.

The ODSC are guided and networked by Out of the Dark Chapter Committee (ODCC), which is represented by each chapter, the Education Sector Committee of the Craighead Out of the Dark Coalition (CODC) and Out of the Dark Inc. The ODCC is charged with setting chapter guidelines, creating activities and establishing the funding needs for the participating schools. Funding is provided through the Out of the Dark Inc.’s School Chapter Mini-Grant Program.

What are your kids saying? The Arkansas Prevention Needs Assessment Survey results are the most important and accurate data we have to determine the attitudes and the types of drug use that our young people are involved with in our communities. The purpose of the survey is to identify the risk factors and protective factors in our community so we can address these properly. In other words, the survey provides us with information from our students as to what we need to be focusing on to make our community a better place for our families and businesses.

According to the 2007 and 2008 statewide student surveys Craighead County was ABOVE STATE AVERAGE in just about every drug use when we started Out of the Dark. Don’t believe it? We didn’t want to either, but you can see for yourself. See where we are 8 years later.

Around the state. On February 25, 2014, chapters from Bay HS & Elem, Jonesboro H.S. and Valley View H.S and Jr. High held an Out of the Dark Student Capitol Rally in Little Rock. The students were there to voice to our state legislature that we need funding in our schools to help us educate our kids about the real health risks associated with using narcotics. Officials that attended the rally included, Arkansas Surgeon General Joseph W. Thompson, MD, State Drug Director Fran Flener, State Senator John Cooper, State Rep. Harold Copenhaver, State Rep. Butch Wilkins and State Rep. Homer Linderman.