The Need For Arkansas Drug Rehab Treatment Programs
In Arkansas, the rate of drug abuse and availability is high just like the need for Arkansas drug rehab centers. With smuggling of methamphetamine, marijuana and cocaine being the most sought after drugs in Arkansas. The smuggling methods used in Arkansas are by any type of transportation. Thousands of pounds of marijuana and thousands of kilograms of cocaine are seized on the Arkansas interstate highways. Most of the seizures come by tractor-trailer, but automobiles carry a significant amount in the seizure process as well.
Cocaine, crack cocaine and powder cocaine are long-term problems affecting Arkansas. Cocaine is the number one problem involving violent crime, homicides and robbery, with the most of this coming from the street gangs. Crack cocaine has an overwhelming growth rate in Arkansas because of its wide availability and relatively inexpensive price.
Methamphetamine is now the biggest problem facing Arkansas. There are constant problems with the making of meth and the importing of meth from Mexico. The states rural plains are ideal locations for setting up manufacturing of this drug.
Marijuana if the highest drug in demand and the availability of this drug is widespread throughout the state. The states rural land, warm climate and the long season for growing, make it the ideal drug for growth and sales by the drug dealers and suppliers in the state.
Arkansas is well known for many great things. It is home of the much loved University of Arkansas Razorbacks. Also approximately 2.9 million people call Arkansas home. It boasts such landmarks as the Mississippi River, the Ozark Mountains, and the Arkansas Timberlands. However, there is another side of Arkansas that is not often the topic of conversation: drug abuse. As with every state, drugs are prevalent in the cities as well as in the rural areas. Drug abuse affects both young and old Arkansas residents. Even for those who stay away from drugs, drug-related crime and drivers who are under the influence of drugs can affect their lives for the worst. Legislation has been passed in an attempt to stop or slow down the transportation and distribution of drugs throughout Arkansas, and statistics have shown that some of those laws have been effective.
Arkansas Drug Statistics
The Most Widely Abused Drugs in Arkansas
Some drugs are easier to get, more widely accepted, and come with fewer legal consequences than others. This is why some drugs are more common in Arkansas than others. Data from 2010 indicates that people sought treatment most often for marijuana addiction. Marijuana is becoming more widely accepted and used all across the country as states are beginning to legalize its use. Also the penalties for marijuana possession are much lower than those for other drugs. Stimulants, such as methamphetamine, were in second place in drugs that Arkansas residents sought treatment for. There are many reasons this drug was in the top two most common drugs in Arkansas. For one reason, it is often used as a weight loss aid. Young adults who are trying to drop a few pounds may put aside the horror stories related to meth addiction and experiment with the drug. Also, Arkansas has a somewhat high rate of poverty. Meth is easier and cheaper for people with a lower income to obtain than other drugs such as heroine. The order of prevalence of other drugs that people sought treatment for in Arkansas is as follows:
- Other opiates and prescription pain medication
- Other or Unknown
Prescription drug abuse is highly prevalent amoung young Arkansas residents. Law makers in Arkansas have issued several initiatives to prevent the non-medical use of substances like opiates, sedatives, and tranquilizers. Adults obtain these prescription medications by doctor shopping or breaking into pharmacies. Younger prescription drug abusers often find extra medication in their parent’s medicine cabinet. They may take this medication or sell it on the streets for a profit.
Arkansas and Prescription Drug Use
In every US state, prescription drug abuse is becoming more and more of a problem. Arkansas is no exception. According to a report from HealthyAmericans.org, the majority of drug overdoses in Arkansas are the result of the non-medical use of prescription drugs. However, from 2010 to 2011, many states began implementing legislation that could have had an impact on prescription drug abuse. For example, the drug and pharmacy database is now widely used and can even track an individual’s prescriptions from other states. Nationally, 7 million people were abusing prescription drugs in 2010. In 2011 that number dropped to 6.1 million. Some of the strategies Arkansas law makers began or continued to use during that time were:
- Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP)
- Laws preventing doctor shopping
- Substance abuse treatment services support
- Prescriber education requirements
- Physical examination for prescription drug patients required
- Prescriber and pharmacy lock-in programs for suspected abusers
- “Take Back” of unused prescription drugs drop offs
The “Take Back” initiative is especially thought to have reduced the amount of prescription drugs available. Several secure drop-off locations were set at convenient locations so that residents could safely get rid of medication that they did not finish or that had expired. This made it more difficult for youth to raid their parents’ medical cabinet for drugs to take or to sell.
Arkansas Compared to the US National Average
Nationally, Arkansas is that state that is right at the middle ranking with prevalence of drug use. Arkansas is 25th in the nation when it comes to drug overdose mortality rates, the majority of which are from prescription drug use. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) recently reported that 7.8% of the people in Arkansas have reported using drugs in the past month. This was slightly lower than the national average which was 8.82%. However, there may be problems with this report. This figure might be slightly skewed because of the recent legalization of marijuana in some areas of the country. However, when marijuana was taken out of the options for drugs used, 4% of Arkansas residents reported use within the last month. The national average for this category is typically lower at 3.6%. This means that Arkansas has a high than average rate of illegal drug use when not considering marijuana.
Arkansas Drug Trends
Arkansas has followed in the direction of the rest of the United States when it comes to drug trends. Drug abuse has increased nationally in the past 10 years. The rates relating to drug use in Arkansas have also increased. For example, the mortality rate from drug overdoses has doubled in Arkansas since 2009. In 2013, there were 12.5 deaths per 100,000 people in Arkansas. In 2009, there were 4.4 per 100,000 people who died from a drug overdose. Seeing that Arkansas typically follows the same trends that the rest of the country follows, as drugs become more accepted and more widely used all over the country, this trend is going to continue in Arkansas as well. However, Arkansas and many other states have attempted to push back on this growing trend with legislation. In some instances and local areas, they are seeing results.
Location of Drug Trafficking and Abuse in Arkansas
Rural Arkansas and Drug Abuse
Arkansas’s rural areas provide the perfect atmosphere and opportunity for the production of two of the state’s most commonly used drugs: marijuana and methamphetamine. The mountainous Ozark areas and the wooded landscape of the Arkansas Timberlands give marijuana growers ideal locations to grow and cultivate their crop out of the site of law enforcement personnel and passersby. Likewise, meth can be more easily produced in a rural setting. Methamphetamine production is known for releasing pungent, toxic smells. It is also often associated with explosions. These are two of the most cited reasons that law enforcement is able to identify them. Therefore, producing meth in an area that is far away from other dwellings means there is less of a chance of attracting unwanted attention from police and local residents.
Urban Arkansas and Drug Use
In addition to the rural areas, Arkansas has major cities that are conveniently located for drug trafficking. Drug traffickers often look for transportation routes that get them to their destination the quickest. The straighter the route, the better off they will be to avoid speed traps. Routes that pass through several major US cities are also excellent for drug trafficking because they can make several stops along the way. Interstate 40 is a major transportation route in the US running east to west that links California with the east coast in North Carolina. Interstate 40 runs directly through Little Rock. Drug traffickers who are coming from the Dallas / Fort Worth, Texas area travel north up Interstate 30 to Little Rock. Interstate 55 runs from the New Orleans, Louisiana area all the way to Chicago, Illinois. This interstate cuts through the east side of Arkansas. Drug traffickers have also been known to use the state’s waterways, specifically the Mississippi and Arkansas Rivers, as a means to transport their drugs. The state’s primary commercial port is the Port of Little Rock located on the Arkansas River. Several illegal drugs are smuggled through at this site as well.
Areas with Highest Drug Rates
Arkansas has nine cities that have a population of over 50,000. Those are Little Rock, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Rogers, Springdale, Conway, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, and Pine Bluff. There are 2 areas that are considered to be the major metropolitan areas of Arkansas. These are the area that is surrounding Little Rock and the northwest corner of the state in the Fayetteville area. While the big cities in Arkansas and their surrounding areas typically have the most drugs, there are specific counties in Arkansas that are given extra attention by the federal government. These counties are known as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA). The counties included in this group are:
Several cities are also included in this area and serve as important points for the drug task force locations. These cities include Little Rock, Fayetteville, and Memphis, Tennessee.
Arkansas Drug Crimes
Drug Related Crime Rate: Possession and Distribution
In Arkansas, as in other areas of the country, there are legal consequences directly related to drug use, possession, and distribution. According to the Arkansas Crime Information Center, there were 14,383 drug related arrests in Arkansas in 2012. Marijuana and Methamphetamines were most commonly associated with these arrests. There is a wide gap in the difference of types of drugs involved in possession arrests. Possession of marijuana consisted of more than 7,000 of the arrests. The next highest on the list was methamphetamines which consisted of only around 1,700 arrests. One possible reason for this is that there are much less severe penalties for marijuana possession than for other drugs. For selling and manufacturing arrests, the statistics were much closer together. Arrests for selling or manufacturing (growing) marijuana were around 922. Arrests for methamphetamine manufacturing or selling were 704. Three groups of people were mentioned in a report by the US department of Justice as being the main distributers of all illicit drugs in Arkansas. They are:
- Motorcycle outlaw gangs
- African American street gangs
- Caucasian individuals
- Mexican Cartel
However, due to stereotyping, some cartel and gang leaders have hired other people of different races to transport their drugs to avoid suspicion of law enforcement personnel.
Crimes Indirectly Associated with Drugs
People who are high on marijuana, meth, prescription drugs, or other substances may act erratically. This can cause behavior that they would not otherwise participate in. For example, driving under the influence of marijuana may go unreported because it is difficult to test for at the scene of the accident. People who have a lower inhibition because of the drugs they took may not be arrested on the day they commit the crime. Therefore, it would not be discovered that drugs played a role in the crime. Also, the highly addictive nature of meth and other drugs might cause people to abandon their inhibitions about stealing and breaking in stores or dwellings to get what they need to stay high. Gangs and other groups are notorious for violence. Anytime a drug culture is prevalent in a society, violence and theft will follow. These crimes are difficult to definitively blame on drugs, but it is certain that drugs do play a crucial role.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs in Arkansas
While many people are aware of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol, there is little awareness about drugged driving. According to a report by the National Highway Safety Administration approximately 1/3 of drivers who cause fatal accidents have drugs in their systems. Often times, driving under the influence of any substance can be difficult to stop. People do not typically go out with the intention of driving home drunk, rather it is a decision made while they are intoxicated. Likewise, driving under the influence of drugs is a decision made after the individual is already high. It is difficult to make good decisions in that state. Arkansas has no legislation specifically aimed at this problem. However, it is illegal in all 50 states to drive under the influence of any mind altering substance that will affect the driver’s ability to operate their vehicle. Some states have come up with ways to make testing for drugs easier for law enforcement as well as increasing the penalties for drugged driving. Arkansas has not yet done this.
Adolescent Drug Abuse in Arkansas
Prescription Drug Abuse by Teens
Prescription drugs are the one of the most commonly abused drugs by adolescents in Arkansas. In 2007, Arkansas had the highest prescription drug use among teens in the nation. Since then, programs have been implemented to reduce that number. It appears to have been working. Prescription drug use among Arkansas’s adolescents has fallen from 2009-2012 according to statewide survey printed in the Arkansas publication of the Times Record. In 2012, the percentage of 6th graders who had abused prescription drugs was 0.8, down from the 1.6 reported in 2009. For 12th graders, the percentage has also fallen, but it is much higher than the younger grades. In 2009, 9.3 12th graders reported they had abused prescription drugs. In 2012, that number dropped to 7.0.
Marijuana Use by Arkansas Teens
Marijuana is the other leading illegal substance used by teens. Some reports say that by the time Arkansas teens are in the 12th grade, there is a 20% chance they have tried marijuana. While teen drinking is still an issue, people in the field believe that young people are becoming more open to marijuana and prescription drug use and less open to teen drinking. The statistics also show that, despite what media and other propaganda leads young people to believe, there are more Arkansas teens who do not abuse drugs than do.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Drug Treatment
Arkansas has many options for those seeking treatment for their addiction. Many treatment facilities in Arkansas use the cognitive behavioral approach in addiction treatment. Cognitive refers to the way the individual thinks. Often, destructive or irrational behavior is a direct consequence of negative, irrational, and unproductive thinking and beliefs. Cognitive behavioral therapists focus on changing those thoughts as well as practicing new, healthy behaviors. Other strategies a cognitive behavioral therapist may employ are:
- Strengthening support systems
- Enhancing self-esteem
- Peer pressure resistance techniques
- Practicing life skills
- Focusing on positive thought patterns
- Practicing skills that help with coping with stress
According to the National Institute on drug abuse, this type of therapy has been shown to be very productive in addiction treatment.
Arkansas Drug Rehab Facilities Are Dedicated To Helping
Arkansas drug rehab facilities are dedicated to helping patients become drug or alcohol free and to lead healthier lives even after their treatment. Arkansas drug rehab facilities also help the families and friends cope.