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Addiction Treatment in Little Rock, Arkansas

Little Rock is the capital of Arkansas and most populous city in the state. This bustling city is located on the south bank of the Arkansas River and has a population of roughly 200,000. Little Rock, Arkansas has grown to become a major economic, government, transportation, and cultural hub within the state of Arkansas. The rich history of the city can be discovered through many of the museums and cultural sites in and around the city, including traditional neighborhoods like the Quapaw Quarter and historic sites like Little Rock Central High School. Despite the strong economy and vibrant cultural activity of the city, Little Rock faces a range of substance abuse and addiction problems. Prescription opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone continue to cause problems in the city, with heroin addiction also a key concern for policy makers and drug treatment professionals. If you or someone you know in Little Rock, Arkansas is struggling with any kind of substance use disorder, it’s important to find professional help as soon as you can.  

How can families and friends help someone needing treatment?

Demographics and Income in Little Rock, Arkansas

Little Rock has a diverse racial profile, being 48.9 percent White, 42.3 percent African American, 3.9 percent from other races, and 2.7 percent Asian. 6.8 percent of the population is Hispanic or Latino, with the city having an overall population density of 1,576 people per square mile. The median household income in Little Rock was $37,572 in the latest official statistics, and the median income for a family was $47,446. 14.3 percent of the population in Little Rock are living below the poverty line, including 20.9 percent of people under the age of 18 and 9.0 percent of people aged 65 and older. Poverty often has a direct effect on substance abuse statistics, with people from low income areas often struggling to find and afford and appropriate addiction treatment.

In terms of crime, Little Rock ranks 1 on the Neighborhood Scout index, meaning it is safer than just 1 percent of American cities. There were 3,047 violent crimes and 13,919 crimes in Little Rock in 2017, giving it a crime rate of 15.36 per 1,000 residents for violent crimes and 70.11 per 1,000 residents for property crimes. The overall crime rate of 15.36 per 1,000 residents is much higher than the state average of 5.51 per 1,000 residents and the national average of 4.00. The huge number of crimes in Little Rock, Arkansas is partly due to the amount of substance abuse in the city, with property and violent crimes often the result of heroin and opioid addiction. 

Common Drug Problems in Little Rock, Arkansas

Little Rock and the state of Arkansas are dealing with a wide range of substance-related problems, including overdose deaths, addiction, crime, loss of productivity, rising health care costs, and social problems. The opioid epidemic that is sweeping across the United States has well and truly taken hold in Little Rock and the surrounding area. Prescription opioids such as fentanyl and oxycodone are highly addictive and linked with a growing number of overdose deaths in Arkansas. Illegal street drugs such as heroin and crack cocaine are also a major problem in Little Rock, Arkansas with alcoholism rates high and methamphetamine abuse also recorded in the area. Little Rock, Arkansas has been called the most dangerous mid-sized city in America, thanks in large part to the drug-fueled gang violence in the city. If you know anyone in Little Rock, Arkansas who is struggling with drug or alcohol problems, it’s important to find professional addiction treatment as soon as you can.  

What is Drug Abuse?

Drug abuse, also known as substance abuse, is a broad term used to describe a wide range of problematic and patterned drug taking behavior. Drug abuse is a type of substance use disorder or substance-related disorder, with different definitions used according to the context in question. For example, the criminal definition of drug abuse may be very different to the medical or therapeutic definition. Generally speaking, people are said to abuse psychoactive substances whenever their use patterns cause harm to themselves or others. Drug abuse is a common problem in Little Rock, Arkansas and across the United States, including the abuse of legal drugs, prescription medications, and illegal street drugs. Commonly abused drugs include alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and prescription opioids. 

While drug abuse is a serious problem, differing definitions and judgments can make it hard to recognize at times. People who misuse or over-use psychoactive substances often go to extreme lengths to hide their abuse patterns from friends and family members, which makes it difficult for people to get the help they need. While many of the signs and symptoms of substance abuse are dependent on the drug in question, there are some general warning signs which are worth watching out for: unexplained mood swings, changes to sleeping and eating patterns, financial problems, health problems, not taking care of responsibilities, developing tolerance, and continuing to use drugs even when they have been found to cause problems. If you or someone you know is currently living with substance abuse, it’s important to contact a treatment center as soon as you can.

What is Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction, also known as substance addiction, involves an addiction to one or more psychoactive substances. Addiction is a brain disorder that involves reward and reinforcement, with drug addicts repeatedly engaging in drug use even when it is known to cause problems. While drug and alcohol treatment centers specialize in psychoactive substance problems, addiction is a broad term that can also be applied to certain behaviors. Common behavioral addictions include sex addiction, gambling addiction, food addiction, exercise addiction, and computer addiction. All addictions involved rewarding stimuli, with addicts continually reinforcing problematic patterns due to physical and psychological brain changes.

Drug addiction exacts a high toll on modern American society; through overdose deaths, crime, health-care costs, loss of productivity, homelessness, and individual health and social problems. Professional treatment is often required to break the bonds of drug addiction, especially for people who have become physically dependent on drugs. Long-term and severe addictions often involve uncontrolled and impulsive actions along with compulsive behavior patterns. A range of medication and psychotherapy programs can be used to help people to break free, including pharmacotherapies, cognitive therapies, behavioral therapies, and motivational therapies. Because both genetic and environmental factors are known to influence addiction, these measures are often combined to provide a comprehensive approach.    

Why cant drug addicts quit on their own?

Assessment and Intake

Before entering a drug rehab environment, it’s important to go through a detailed assessment procedure. Alcohol and drug assessment units at treatment centers and hospitals specialize in getting people the right kind of help for their individual condition. Lots of factors come into play when receiving treatment, many of which can have a negative impact on the treatment provided. For example, clinicians will attempt to identify high-risk people and situations, physical drug dependencies, secondary substance use disorders, mental health problems, dual diagnosis, behavioral addictions, and external life factors that may impede or influence treatment. Depending on the treatment facility and patient in question, some of these factors can include homelessness, dependent children, contact with the justice system, history of domestic or family violence, and intellectual disabilities.

The pre-intake and intake process depends greatly on the substance and extent of addiction, with some drugs needing extensive medication and others treated through psychotherapy measures alone. People who have physical drug dependencies are likely to be directed towards medical detox programs, with psychological dependencies often treated through drug rehab alone. A comprehensive assessment tool is used to make this distinction, with blood tests often carried out alongside self-completion forms and mental health examinations. Drug rehab clinics in Little Rock, Arkansas may specialize in particular substance use disorders or types of treatment, with some centers adhering to the free will model of addiction and others to the disease model of addiction. All of these things are important when deciding on a treatment center, so talk to your doctor and get the help you need as soon as possible.  

Physical Vs. Psychological Dependence

Making a distinction between physical and psychological dependence is crucial when deciding on a treatment plan. Psychoactive substance abuse patterns and addictions need to be treated in different ways, some of which require extensive medication. Physical dependence is defined as the experience of a physical-somatic withdrawal symptom when drug use is stopped or reduced. Substances known to cause physical dependence include alcohol, heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, Valium, Xanax, Klonopin and many others. These drugs are all central nervous system (CNS) depressants. Common symptoms experienced by people when they discontinue these drugs are headaches, nausea, vomiting, seizures, hallucinations, and delirium tremens. Many of these symptoms can be dangerous and even deadly if they are not treated properly, which is why it’s so important for people to engage with a professional treatment provider.

In contrast, psychological dependence is recognized by the existence of motivational and emotional withdrawal symptoms when drug use is stopped. While these symptoms are not normally as dangerous, they can still cause severe distress. Substances known to cause psychological withdrawal symptoms upon drug discontinuation include marijuana, amphetamines, methamphetamine, MDMA, and cocaine. Other than marijuana, these drugs are all central nervous system (CNS) stimulants. Common psychological withdrawal symptoms include mood swings, drug cravings, lack of motivation, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Generally speaking, psychological dependence does not require medication or medical detoxification. While physical drug dependencies are normally accompanied by psychological symptoms, the opposite is not necessarily the case. Psychological dependence is typically treated though a mixture of cognitive, motivational, and dialectical behavioral therapy.   

What is the difference between physical and psychological addiction?


After the initial intervention and assessment, detox is often provided as the first real stage of drug treatment. While detox is not always needed for patients who are not likely to experience physical withdrawal symptoms, it can still be applied as a way to ensure abstinence. When physical withdrawal symptoms are present or likely to be present, medical detoxification is typically used. According to the United States National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), detox involves a sequential three stage process followed by drug rehab and aftercare support systems. The first stage of detox is known as evaluation, which is followed by medication and consultation. During the initial evaluation process, patients are given blood tests to check for currently circulating substances and also put through a detailed mental health examination. This is critical because it helps doctors and clinicians to avoid dangerous drug interactions.

The second stage of detox typically involves medication, with different drugs administered as a way to stabilize the patient prior to rehab. Central nervous system (CNS) depressants are often used to manage and reduce the severity of dangerous withdrawal symptoms like seizures and delirium tremens. Every time these symptoms are experienced by patients, they are at risk of serious complications such as brain damage and death. While some patients can be stabilized without medications using rapid detox and other “cold turkey” methods, this can be very dangerous and is not usually recommended. Before embarking on any kind of detox regimen, it’s important to speak with a doctor and get the help you need. The third and final stage of detox involves consulting with the patient in order to help them into further treatment. It’s always important to realize that detox is not enough when administered in isolation. Extended rehab and aftercare support systems are also needed to deal with the psychological factors that precede addiction. 


Drug rehab is designed to follow detox, with some patients entering rehab without receiving any kind of medication support. Rehab clinics are available in Little Rock, Arkansas and across America, from full-time residential facilities through to outpatient centers and informal support meetings. Residential treatment centers (RTC) offer the most comprehensive level of treatment, including live-in accommodation and 24/7 access to medications and support staff. While this level of treatment can be expensive and is not always needed, RTC programs allow people to leave their problematic lifestyle behind and start again under a new roof. Residential rehab can last from anywhere from a single weekend to a six month program, with most people using something in-between. Luxury rehab facilities are also available, including things like private accommodation, wellness programs, meditation and yoga classes, and nutritional support.

Partial hospitalization (PHP) is the next level of coverage, with this type of rehab involving an intensive live-in arrangement for five days each week. While PHP is not as immersive as RTC, it does allow people to go home on the weekends and connect with family and friends. PHP programs are generally less expensive than full-time residential rehab, making them more accessible to a wider range of people. Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are also available from rehab centers across Arkansas, with these programs providing intensive full-time treatment for five days each week while allowing people to live at their usual home address. While IOP rehab is less expensive and more flexible than alternative options, some people may struggle to avoid relapse while living in the same environment that their addiction took place. 


Outpatient rehab includes all treatment programs administered at a local treatment center. Outpatient rehab is generally less restrictive than inpatient rehab, with counseling and other therapy sessions available between 10 and 15 hours each week. Because outpatient programs allow people to live at home for the duration of treatment, patients can still connect with family members and carry out work commitments. Outpatient programs are often based on conventional 12-step facilitation, including groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). They may also be based on novel new approaches such as moral reconation therapy and SMART Recovery. Whether people attend inpatient or outpatient facilities, behavioral therapy plays a crucial role in helping people to recognize their problems and find appropriate long-term solutions. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy used to treat a wide variety of substance use and mental health disorders. This form of therapy has proved useful in treating depression disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and wide range of substance use disorders just to name a few. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps people to identify problematic emotions and thoughts in order to avoid compulsive behavior patterns. By teaching people the intricate links between feelings, thoughts, and behavior patterns, therapists allow patients to look behind the curtain at their own addictive lifestyle patterns. Cognitive behavioral therapy believes that thought distortions and problematic behavior patterns play a key role in the development of psychological disorders such as drug addiction. If recovering drug addicts can learn to be more mindful of their thoughts and feelings as they take place, they can slowly learn to make new psychological associations and develop healthy new lifestyle patterns.  

Relapse Prevention

In order to recover properly from a drug addiction, it’s important to have measures in place that help people to avoid relapse. Also known as recidivism, relapse is a medical term used to describe the recurrence of a condition after a period of absence. In the context of drug addiction and treatment, relapse occurs when someone returns to drug or alcohol use following a period of abstinence. This normally occurs over a series of three stages: emotional relapse, mental relapse, and physical relapse. Relapse prevention techniques and programs are designed to help people recognize the emotional and mental signs of relapse before they lead to a physical relapse event. Common signs of emotional relapse include sadness, isolation, anger, frustration, anxiety, and mood swings. During this period, the recovering addict will be suffering emotionally in a way that seems beyond their control. 

Unless these emotional warning signs are identified and dealt with properly, they will turn into mental relapse. Common signs of mental relapse include thinking about returning to drug or alcohol use, romanticizing past drug use, fantasizing about possible future drug use, and spending time with drug taking friends. Patients are likely to engage with drugs or alcohol again unless these warning signs are identified and dealt with properly. Physical relapse describes what happens when someone returns to drugs or alcohol, with further interventions now needed before treatment can resume. Relapse prevention systems teach patients how to recognize potential relapse triggers, avoid dangerous situations, and cope more effectively with the challenges of life as they arise. Meditation and mindfulness can play an important role during this process, as can family therapy, group counseling, client-centered counseling and numerous other strategies. 

Aftercare and Sober Living

Aftercare describes all treatment programs that are administered after the completion of inpatient or outpatient rehab. Also known as continuing care, aftercare programs are an important part of the treatment process. While detox helps to manage the withdrawal syndrome and rehab helps to address the psychological undercurrents of drug addiction, aftercare is also needed to ensure long-term recovery. Common treatment programs applied during aftercare include 12-step support groups, SMART Recovery, family therapy, and long-term counseling. Along with ongoing psychotherapeutic support, some patients also require long-term pharmacotherapy treatment such as opiate replacement therapy. Sober living environments (SLEs) or sober living houses also provide a unique and much-needed service during aftercare, helping people in need to access affordable accommodation while they make the difficult transition from drug treatment back to everyday life. 

Opiate Replacement Therapy

Also known as opiate substitution therapy, this form of treatment is designed as a form of harm reduction and lifestyle management. During opiate replacement therapy, long-term heroin addicts and prescription opioid addicts are prescribed methadone or buprenorphine to help them stop using problematic and addictive drugs. While this form of therapy does nothing to address the emotional and social precursors of opioid addiction, it does allow people to live safer and more productive lives while they seek further treatment. Opiate replacement therapy is initially available from rehab centers, with patients then prescribed methadone on a long-term basis while they make the transition back to everyday life. If you know anyone who is living with an opioid problem or any kind of substance use disorder, it’s important to reach out to a specialized treatment program as soon as you can.  

Is methadone/suboxone a better replacement?