A Better Region 8: Opioid epidemic in Arkansas

A Better Region 8: The opioid epidemic in Arkansas

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Newly released information from the Arkansas Department of Health shows the state, and particularly Region 8, is in the middle of a dangerous opioid epidemic.

State health information shows that last year, there were more opioid prescriptions filled in Arkansas than there are people.

There are about three million people in Arkansas and last year, 3.2 million prescriptions were filled.

Those prescriptions handed out nearly 190 million pills across the state.

Three of the four highest counties...are in Region 8 -- Poinsett, Stone, and Lawrence. Poinsett County was the highest.

For every 100 people, there were nearly 165 opioid prescriptions filled in that county alone.

Opioids are the term we give painkillers.

The highest prescribed include hydrocodone, tramadol, and oxycodone.

While Arkansas is nearly twice the nationwide rate of these prescribed painkillers - states where they have seen a drop in opioid abuse have seen an increase in heroin and fentanyl.

This goes to a deeper discussion about pain, the growing financial divide, healthcare in this country, and holding doctors and pharmaceutical companies accountable - but we will save that for another day.

These numbers show we probably know several family members and friends addicted to opioids.

Did I mention over 400 people died from overdoses last year?

If you care about those special someone’s in your life - it’s time we stand up and do something.

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