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Drug Addiction in Arkansas
relapse prevention

In recent years, Arkansas has witnessed an increase in illicit drug use, particularly with highly dangerous and addictive drugs like heroin and meth. Drug addiction in Arkansas is a serious problem in many Arkansas communities. For addiction sufferers, however, there is help available at various addiction treatment centers and rehab facilities. Illegal drug abuse is associated with life-threatening health risks such as overdose, but its short and long-term mental and physical health effects are unavoidable if the addiction is not managed. If you have a drug addiction in Arkansas, you need to understand your risks and that there is help available for you.


What Is Drug Abuse?

Illegal drugs, also known as street drugs, are a national problem, but for some communities, addictions to common illicit substances are a genuine epidemic. In Arkansas, some of the most commonly abused drugs include marijuana, heroin, cocaine and meth. Although prescription drug addiction is also plaguing the state, recent reports suggest that both heroin and meth abuse are increasing. With drug abuse increasing, the numbers of people who become addicted to illicit substances also increases. Drug addiction in Arkansas is associated with increases in drug-related emergency room visits. People who suffer from addictions to street drugs face serious mental and physical health risks.


Drug Addiction in Arkansas

According to the White House’s Arkansas Drug Control Update, the state of Arkansas has been one of the top 10 states in recent years for illicit drug use in the 18-25 demographic. The battle against illegal drugs has cost the state of Arkansas millions, but the problem continues with greater stores of meth and cocaine found in the state. According to the NDIC, “Methamphetamine produced by Mexican criminal groups in Mexico, California, and southwestern states is widely available in Arkansas.” In fact, in a recent survey, all of Arkansas’s law enforcement professionals who participated in the NDIC’s survey reported that “methamphetamine availability was high in their jurisdictions.”

Just last year, the Washington Times reported that “since 2003, the number of heroin-related drug cases sent to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory has gradually climbed.” Although heroin-related deaths are not as prevalent as prescription-drug related deaths, law enforcement providers are still concerned about the increases. Some experts have suggested that one reasons heroin is developing into a greater problem for many states like Arkansas is because there is been such an intense focus by governments as well as law enforcement providers to crack down on prescription drug abuse.


Commonly Abused Street Drugs in Arkansas


Cocaine is a dangerous stimulant that has been a problem in Arkansas. Cocaine is classified as a Schedule II stimulant that is highly addictive. Both cocaine and crack cocaine addictions are treated at drug treatment centers throughout the state. One of the reasons that cocaine is so addictive is because it stimulates the brain’s reward centers and causes an extremely euphoric high. As the user increases their dose to achieve the same high over time (because they’ve built up a tolerance to that initial dose), they develop a physical dependency to the drug. If they stop taking it, severe withdrawal symptoms can ensue. Using cocaine is, of course, associated with mental and physical health problems such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, mood changes, and paranoia and anxiety. Signs and symptoms of cocaine abuse include aggressiveness, frequent nosebleeds, depression, apathy, and heart problems.


Heroin is a Schedule I controlled substance that is associated with high rates of abuse and powerful addictions. The relapse rate for heroin addiction is between 40 and 60 percent, according to NPR, in that first year post-treatment. Heroin users can develop a tolerance to it quickly so that the body craves the next dose or will suffer from withdrawal. People who use heroin risk overdose as well as other mental and physical health problems like reduced respiratory function and increased susceptibility to diseases like HIV and hepatitis. Signs and symptoms of heroin abuse include reduced cognitive function, slow breathing, scratching, vomiting, loss of interest in formerly enjoyed activities and people, and reduced appetite.


Meth is a Schedule II drug that is also associated with high rates of abuse and addiction. The relapse rate among meth addicts is 93 percent, even after treatment. Meth users experience a euphoric high characterized by high energy, increased alertness, and a sense of invulnerability. Unfortunately, meth is also associated with a propensity for aggression and involves various powerful cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Aside from overdoes, meth users are at risk for health problems such as reduced cognitive function, weight loss, dental problems and increased heart rate. Signs and symptoms of meth abuse include tooth decay, skin picking, erratic behavior and hair loss.


Treatment for Drug Addiction

Illegal drug abuse can be deadly; overdose can occur any time with any use. Obtaining treatment at a quality drug treatment center is the best way to manage addiction to illicit street drugs like those mentioned. Overcoming addiction requires multi-type treatments. The first treatment is invariably medical detox where patients are safely weaned of the illicit drug. During this period, healthcare providers can treat withdrawal symptoms or other health problems as needed. After medical detox, rehab centers rely on traditional treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy and alternative treatments to address the psychological and behavioral aspects of street drug addiction.

Some patients addicted to seriously addictive and illicit substances are put on maintenance programs and provided with pharmaceutical treatment in the form of a drug like methadone, which takes the place of the illicit drug, but without the health consequences. Upon entry into rehab, addiction specialists can recommend a custom treatment plan that takes the patient’s health and needs into consideration.

If you or a loved one is addicted to street drugs, it’s vital to seek addiction treatment in order to safeguard your life and health. Treatment can help you manage your addiction so that you can lead a more rewarding and healthful life.