Wednesday, January 19, 2022

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An Overview of Addiction and Treatment in Jacksonville, Arkansas

          Jacksonville, Arkansas is a quiet suburb of slightly less than 30,000 souls, located twenty miles northeast of Little Rock.  It’s the kind of place with down-home charm and small neighborhoods including Northlake, Base Meadow, Gap Creek, Gravel Ridge and Brian Patch, just to name a few.   Everyone knows everyone else.  The cost of living is reasonable, especially compared to larger US cities.   The median price for a home is less than a hundred and twenty thousand dollars.  The police force is good according to reputation.  The schools are excellent and the city government maintains the Jacksonville Community Center hosting a fitness area, exercise classes, babysitting and child care, aquatics, and a meeting hall.   With a WalkScore of twenty-two, Jacksonville may be the perfect city for new walking shoes or running gear.  Check out the reviews online and you’ll find most people describe it as a quiet, safe, livable place to raise a family.   Every summer there’s a splash zone for the kids.  


          But digging a little deeper will unearth that there’s not much to do in Jacksonville, Arkansas if you’re young and perhaps a little bored.  The nearby air base employs twelve hundred service people and the city has a youthful median age of just 31, but it lacks a skating rink, or a bowling alley or even a mall.  The county isn’t dry, but the city remains, “moist,” (no alcohol sold in-store) and restaurants need a special permit.   To find an active night-life or club scene, get onto Highway 167 and drive the fifteen-minute commute to Little Rock.   Of course, during rush hours that trip can be daunting; to say nothing of no-driving-under-the-influence laws and concerns.

Jacksonville, Arkansas Statistics

          Jacksonville, Arkansas could also use more job opportunities.  As of September 2017, the unemployment rate was sitting just under four percent and the actual number of people employed had dropped by just over four percent to 11,150.   That fact, combined with a poverty rate hovering at eighteen percent, might explain why more than a couple of streets in the downtown area are now considered a rougher environment.


Poverty Rate                            18.7%

   families                                    11.9%

   under age 18                           20,5%

   age 65 or over                         7.9%


Jacksonville Population                               28,726  stable

Median Age                                31

          Over 18                           72%

          Over 21                           68%

          Over 62                           14%

          Over 65                           12 %


White                                        59%

Black                                         34%  

Asian                                        2%

Hispanic                                    7%

Indian                                       .2%

Other                                        2%


Male                                          49%

Female                                      51%


English Only                              92%

Other                                        7%


Median Household Income                   $41,006

Median Home Price                                $113,300

Ownership                                                $47%

Rent                                                           $53%  ($750 monthly)

Total employed armed forces                1,234

Civilian veterans                                       17.8%


             A younger population with not enough employment and little in the way of entertainment helped make Jacksonville, Arkansas vulnerable to the substance abuse epidemic sweeping through the US.  In 2014 forty-seven thousand people died from drug overdoses; four hundred (more than one every day) of them in Arkansas which was ranked 25th in the country.  Prescription drugs and opiates fueled most of those deaths.   Comparing Arkansas to the national average, twenty-five percent more opiates were sold in the state.

Prescription Abuse

The abuse of prescription is the reason behind the successful Drug Take Back Program.  In one April Collection, 25,000 pounds of prescription drugs were turned in.  This success only highlights the fact that sales of prescription drugs are much higher in Arkansas than in Mississippi, Louisiana or Alabama.  Twice a year the program has needed to be repeated. As abuse of prescriptions has gotten worse, officials fear that heroin will not lag long behind.   Between 2001 and 2016 recorded cases of heroin use jumped from eight to sixty-three.


          It’s easy to become addicted to medications.   They seem safe because a doctor wrote a prescription.  But dependency can build up in as little as two to three days of continuous use.    Many people hooked on opiates, heroin or other hard drugs have a story that starts with pain medications.  If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse you are not alone.  There are treatment options available in Jacksonville, Arkansas and in nearby surrounding areas.  Help is only a phone call or a mouse click away.

Commonly Abused Drugs in Arkansas

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

Arkansas ranked 25th in drug overdose in 2013. 12.5 persons per 100,000.

In 2013, about 70,000 individuals were dependent on or abused illicit drugs.

A single day count in 2013 found 5,927 individuals enrolled in substance abuse treatment. Of that number, 53% sought treatment for alcohol and drug abuse, 31.3% were enrolled for drug abuse only while 15.7% received treatment for alcohol abuse only.

Between 2005-2013, the number of people receiving treatment for illicit drugs in Arkansas was higher than the national average. About 78.5% percent of those abusing illicit drugs during 2005-2013 never received treatment.

·         Marijuana
During 2011, less than 123 people per 100,000 entered treatment for marijuana addiction as the primary drug of choice. One in four persons in Arkansas between 18-25 smoked marijuana during 2013. Marijuana was among the top three drug possession arrests. (AR State Legislature Report 2014)

·         Amphetamine
Amphetamine abuse is a growing problem in Arkansas. In 2008, 4,334 individuals were admitted to drug rehab for treatment of amphetamine addiction. This figure does not include the growing numbers of individuals who are succumbing to methamphetamine addiction. In 2009, 10% of all treatment cases were for methamphetamine abuse.

·         Prescription Drugs
In 2011, 36-77 individuals per 100,000 were admitted to treatment for prescription drug addiction. According to the Arkansas Drug Control Update, between 2010-2011, Arkansas ranked among the top ten states for non-medical pain reliever abuse among people 12 years of age and older.

·         Cocaine
Cocaine abuse in Arkansas is below the national average but it is high among people ages 18-25 according to a 2007 government report.

·         Heroin
There was a drop in the number of people entering treatment for cocaine as the primary addiction between 2009 and 2011. Cocaine is the most commonly used drug with heroin.

Get Started Now

          Anyone can have a problem with abusing drugs, alcohol or prescription medicines.  It doesn’t matter what you do for a living, your age or background.  Maybe you started out experimenting, looking to have a good time with friends, or you wanted to forget about your problems or anxiety for a short time. So, how do you know if you have a problem?   According to the experts, ask yourself if the drugs are having a negative effect on your health and well-being?   Perhaps you’re feeling ashamed or helpless and isolated?  Drug addiction is less about what you use or how much, or even how often; and more about the consequences.  Are you having problems at work, school or home?  Have your relationships suffered

          Admitting you have a problem is Step One on the road to getting better.  If you’re taking that step now, know that it requires courage.  Pick up the phone or log into one of the many centers that want to help. 


          Even though every cell in your body may be screaming, “Yes!  I have a problem!” professionals trained in addiction and substance abuse need do an intake interview with you.  They have to understand the extent of your problem and if there any on-going issues which might stand in the way of your recovery (homelessness, illness, legal problems, mental health, employment, family situation).  Whether it is conducted on the phone or in a center, the interview is private.  The information should only be used as part of your treatment.   Be honest.  It’s the next step in getting well.


          Ask questions.    Both you and the rehabilitation center need to figure out if a particular place can help you.  You may also be asked to take tests or screenings.  They will want to know about your drug use.  What you use, how often and where?  They’ll ask if you have a history of substance abuse in your family.   It’s important to find the right program.   If you feel comfortable, you’re more likely stick with it long term.


What advice can you offer when comparing treatment centers?


          So, now you’ve decided that you decided you have a problem.  Perhaps you have even called a helpline, attended an AA meeting or talked with a facility about their program.  All-the-while you’re wondering how you will ever pay for the help?  The cost of treatments varies from free and low-cost programs paid for by the state or federal government, all the way up to centers that are also luxury resorts and cost a small fortune.    Many insurance companies pay for treatment and many (but not all) facilities will accept insurance. Religious and other faith-based groups will often help with treatment and many of the for-cost treatment centers have scholarship programs available.   


Will my insurance cover drug rehab treatment?


          Rehab and treatment program generally offer different levels or types of care  Residential Treatment or RTC, usually called inpatient care and Intensive Outpatient Program or IOP; which might include Partial Hospitalization (with or without board) or PHP.  In this type of outpatient program, the daily treatment offered is done in a hospital setting.  Facilities often will offer a combination of them all.  


          How do you decide what kind of care you need?  Ask yourself a few questions.  How long have you been using?  Have you stopped feeling, “high,” and now you use to feel normal?  If you can’t stop for even a brief time, you probably need to check into a residential facility.


          Will you suffer withdrawal if you stop?  Detoxification from the types of drugs that cause withdrawal is best done in a medical environment.  Entering an inpatient program you will be placed in a facility with round-the-clock care. If you have struggled with addiction for a long time, or if you have other medical or mental health issues (dual diagnosis), a residential facility removes you from your daily routine and the temptation to relapse.  


 On the other hand, if your addiction is recent, if you’re healthy, if you have family, children or aging parent, an outpatient program will provide the same treatment and counseling but every night you go home.  The choice is different for every addict and you should make it after talking with your family, your doctors, and abuse counselors. 


Entering a program, most will insist on a detoxification stage; after which all traces of drugs and alcohol will have metabolized.  Only then can you start the process of rehabilitation.  How hard is detoxification?  It depends.  Everyone’s body is different.  The drugs used, the dosage, the duration of the addictions, all this and more affects the detoxification process.     When you use alcohol or drugs (legal or not), your body gets used to those substances; remove them and you get withdrawal symptoms…   Depending on the drug, it usually takes twenty-four hours for withdrawal to start but symptoms can sometimes appear in a couple of hours.  With medical care, detoxification is mostly safe, but sometimes the symptoms may be severe or even deadly.  Medications that ease withdrawal may be needed, especially for opiates and heroin.   Don’t “go cold turkey,” on your own or at home.


What is withdrawal? How long does it last?



          There is evidence that suggests that the longer you stay in treatment the better the chances that you will succeed in recovering from your addiction.  Every moment spent in a treatment center ups your odds of staying clean and sober.  At ninety days, the success rate goes way up.


          Without aftercare and continuing help it’s easy to relapse.  Your new, sober life might require you to move or change jobs.   The more you can distance yourself the people and places where you used the easier it becomes to stay clean.   Many facilities have on-going, regular weekly or monthly sessions, meeting with doctors and counselor who follow up and support you your recovery.    Therapy may be suggested.   Other medical or mental health issues might need to be addressed.  Many find that AA meetings are helpful.


Narcotics Anonymous 800-407-7195


Alcoholics Anonymous 501-664-7303 hotline,



          As you recover, remember that addiction is a disease.  Some people are more prone to it and recovering is a process, some might say a journey.      It gets easier as you develop new habits and new routines.  Seek counseling or a good AA/NA sponsor.  Reach out for help when there’s a problem.  It takes work and commitment to be clean and sober but YOU’RE WORTH IT.