The prescription drug abuse and addiction problem being reported across the United States has not spared Arkansas. According to the CDC - the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - for instance, the number of overdose deaths linked to illicit and prescription opioids increased to over 33,000 fatalities in 2015.
In Arkansas, the trends continue in the same line. Another report showed that more than 50 percent of all the teenagers in this state said that they had a relatively easy time obtaining these prescription medications from medicine cabinets in their homes or in the homes of grandparents and other close relatives.
There are many prescription drugs that are commonly abused in Arkansas. They include such medications as sleeping pills, Darvocet, OxyContin, Adderall, Ritalin, Xanax, and Valium, among others.
Estimates from SAMHSA - the Substance Use and Mental Health Services Administration - reported between 2010 and 2011 for instance showed that Arkansas had the 3rd highest rates of annual prescription pain relief medication abuse among people between the ages of 12 and 17 years.
Most of the teenagers who abuse these drugs in the state report that it is relatively easy to access them in their homes, in the medicine cabinets that their parents and other relatives keep.
The National Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative also collected more than 64,000 prescription medications in Arkansas between 2010 and 2013. This goes to show that the state has been prescribing these drugs in higher than normal rates.
However, other reports show that there has been a decrease in the total number of people in the state who report that they have tried using prescription medications for a nonmedical reason.
That said, the rates of drug overdoses involving prescription drugs continue rising by the day. Today, it is reported that these overdoses are among the leading causes of accidental death within the state as elsewhere in the United States.
In 2016, for instance, Arkansas lost 379 lives to a drug related overdose incident. The following year, the number had increased to more than 411 overdose deaths among local residents.
Other studies have shown that prescription opioids are among the major contributing factors to drug abuse in Arkansas. According to the CDC - the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - 94 percent of all the respondents who were interviewed in 2014 said that they were in an addiction treatment center because they were addicted to heroin - an addiction that started with prescription opioid medication abuse. Among these people, heroin was the drug of choice because it was much more widely available at affordable prices.
Arkansas has also been ranked in the 2nd position for the rates of over prescription of opioid medications. The latest figures show that doctors wrote 114.6 prescription for opioids for every segment of 100 residents. This means that there are more of these medications than there are people in the state.
In 2013, the state also lost 11.1 lives among every segment of 100,000 residents. By 2017, this number had increased to 15.5 deaths among every segment of 100,000 residents.
Although more of these deaths were linked to prescription opioid medications, the number of fatalities involving opioids were not included. This is because the data that was reported did not end up meeting all the inclusion criteria.
That said, doctors and other health care healthcare providers in Arkansas wrote 105.4 prescriptions for opioid medications for every segment of 100 people in 2017. This number was almost twice that reported at the national level of 58.7 prescriptions for opioids written for each segment of 100 people.
Of all the new cases of HIV that were reported in the country in 2016, a total of 314 were in Arkansas. For male patients, 6.7 percent contracted the condition as a result of intravenous drug use and male to male contact. For female patients, 4.3 percent contracted HIV due to intravenous drug use.
The year before, it was estimated that 5308 residents of Arkansas were living with HIV at a rate of more than 214 cases for every segment of 100,000 people. Of this number, 15.5 percent of all male cases contracted it through male to male contact and intravenous drug use. For female patients, 18.1 percent contracted it due to intravenous drug use.
However, HIV is not the only condition that is often associated with prescription drug abuse. Many people also contract hepatitis C due to their abuse of prescription medications.
The annual average between 2013 and 2016 for Arkansas showed that more than 22,000 people in the state had hepatitis C. this was at a rate of about 980 cases of hepatitis C for every segment of 100,000 people.
If you have been abusing prescription drugs - irrespective of the type of medication that you were taking - it is recommended that you seek help from a professional addiction treatment and rehabilitation center.
There are many such centers and facilities scattered all across the state of Arkansas. They include both inpatient and outpatient drug rehabs, and they offer their services for set periods of time running from 30, 60, or 90 days. However, it is also possible to stay in one of these facilities for longer than 90 days if it will ensure that you achieve complete sobriety.
Through a professional addiction treatment program offered on either an outpatient or inpatient basis, you may be able to overcome your prescription drug abuse and addiction, as well as turn your life around for the better. The important thing is to get help from these centers in Arkansas as soon as you realize that you have been abusing prescription in higher rates than you used to.
If you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, it is imperative that you look for professional help as soon as you possibly can. However, you might not know where to start or the options that are open to you. Similarly, you may have little to no idea about the differences between the different treatment facilities and the programs they have in store for their patients.
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