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Successful Lunch and Learn hosted by Fellowship House and Walker County Sheriff’s Office

Successful Lunch and Learn hosted by Fellowship House and Walker County Sheriff’s Office

Jasper, Alabama. Fellowship House and the Walker County Sheriff’s Office hosted a lunch and learn at the Covenant Church of the Nazarene on Thursday, February 29, 2024. This event brought together over 55 community changemakers, including representatives from Alabama Department of Mental Health, law enforcement from both local and federal levels, treatment professionals, judges, executives, lawyers, clergy and other concerned stakeholders to engage in constructive dialogue and learning.

This informative event stems from an initiative established by the Bureau of Justice Assistance aimed at integrating substance use treatment in jails across the country. The Walker County Jail was honored to be selected as one of ten sites nationwide for this prestigious opportunity. Through this initiative, Fellowship House and the Walker County Jail have been able to collaborate effectively, fostering an environment of cooperation and innovation to address substance use disorders within the criminal justice system.

During the event, attendees gained valuable insights into addiction, medication assisted treatment (MAT), and the shared goals of collaboration between community treatment providers and the criminal justice system. Expert presentations, interactive discussions, and networking opportunities deepened participants’ understanding of effective strategies for supporting individuals struggling with substance use disorders and reducing recidivism rates. 

“We are thrilled by the positive outcomes and feedback received from the Lunch and Learn event,” said Elizabeth Norman, Executive Director of Fellowship House. “We are grateful for the support of the Walker County Sheriff’s Office and for the opportunity to collaborate with diverse stakeholders in the community. Together, we are taking meaningful steps towards addressing substance use issues and building healthier, safer communities in creative ways that have not been done in the state of Alabama."

Erin Foss, an RN with Stratis Health and serving as a representative from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, flew in for the event and used a relatable Alabama comparison to help the audience understand the magnitude of the state of addiction by sharing that the overdose deaths last year were greater than the capacity of Bryant-Denny Stadium. On top of this jarring statistic, Walker County’s overdose rate is six times higher than the national average.

In addition to the success of the Lunch and Learn event, Fellowship House is excited to announce the establishment of a state certified Level 1 outpatient program within the Walker County Jail. These efforts have been heavily supported by ADMH and the program will be receiving SAMHSA State Opioid Response Grant funding. This initiative represents a significant step forward in providing comprehensive, accessible substance use treatment to individuals within the criminal justice system and being able to establish engagement in treatment during incarceration, as well as ensure continuity of care upon release. 

Justin White, Walker County Jail Administrator, made a powerful statement to close out the event. "We are the action. We will not sit by any longer.  We want all the help that we can get, but we are not waiting any longer for people to get on board.  Either we can change minds with discussions like these or we will change minds when everyone sees the results."

For more information about the services offered by Fellowship House or the recent Lunch and Learn event, please contact Elizabeth Norman or Carl Carpenter

Elizabeth Norman


Fellowship House Recovery Services


Carl Carpenter


Walker County Sheriff's Office


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