Local drug rehabilitation program seeing increase in numbers

Published: Apr. 12, 2023 at 5:09 PM CDT
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WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. (KAIT) - We all likely know someone who suffers from drug addiction.

Recent studies have shown since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, drug use has skyrocketed across the country.

A drug rehabilitation facility in Northeast Arkansas said that trend is accurate.

Walnut Ridge-based Jumpstart Ministries has seen an increase in those seeking sobriety since 2020.

“We had about 30 residents in our phase one facility and close to twenty in our phase two facility, and those were all males,” said Jumpstart Ministries Administrative Director Chris Parris. “Now in 2023, we have close to 85 male residents, maybe closer to 90 and 30 female residents.”

Parris explained that rehab facilities aren’t the only ones noticing the increase in drug use.

“The courts are certainly recognizing a bigger increase in drug charges because the amount of judges, prosecuting attorneys, peer support people that are reaching out to us searching for rehab as alternative sentencing has definitely increased.”

He added while drug use is increasing, those achieving sobriety and graduating from his organization are also seeing an incline.

“In 2020, we’d have one or two people graduate every month. Last year, we graduated 37 people from our program,” Parris said. “This year we’ve already had close to ten graduations, and this coming Saturday, we’ll have five more.”

Parris said he’s also seen more people enter his program that is addicted to more dangerous drugs, like fentanyl.