Arkansas drug abuse overview

Arkansas has a population of 3,025,891 people. The most recent data from the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that 354,000 people over the age of 12 had abused illegal substances in the past month, around 11.70% of the population. 300,000 reported marijuana use in the past month and 482,000 in the past year. The report also found that 50,000 Arkansas residents had abused cocaine in the past year, 63,000 had abused meth, and 139,000 had abused prescription pain medication. 28,000 people over the age of 18 reported using heroin in the last year. Those reporting opioid misuse including heroin, painkillers, and fentanyl in Arkansas totaled 149,000 people.

Arkansas addiction statistics

  • There were 97.5 opioid prescriptions made per 100 Arkansas residents in 2018

  • In the same year, nearly half of the 444 reported drug overdose deaths in Arkansas involved opioids—a total of 208 fatalities (and a rate of 7.4)

  • 124,000 individuals aged 12 or older in any given year between 2009-2013 were dependent on or abused alcohol in Arkansas

Arkansas and alcohol abuse

Alcohol misuse was also reported in Arkansas with 1,103,000 people over the age of 12 saying they had used alcohol in the last month and 602,000 reporting binge drinking. The perceived risk of people over 12 years of age indulging in problematic alcohol use (5 or more drinks twice a week) in a month was 1,207,000 people.

Arkansas overdose deaths

In 2021, Arkansas saw a total of 592 recorded drug-related overdose deaths.** This includes those that were accidental or unidentifiable but excludes those that were related to suicide or homicide. This puts the overdose death toll in Arkansas at 19.6 people per 100,000. The total number of alcohol-related deaths (including overdose and all other causes) was 413 or 13.6 per 100,000 people.

Arkansas and substance use disorders

The NSDUH report also recorded the total amount of substance abuse disorders in Arkansas and those who currently require treatment. The report found that 456,000 were recorded as having a substance use disorder (SUD) and 292,000 had an alcohol use disorder. 92,000 people were recorded as having an opioid use disorder including those with painkiller, heroin, and other opioid-based drug use disorders.

Arkansas and treatment

There are many who have been diagnosed with or reported a substance, illicit drug, or alcohol use disorder that require rehab treatment and are not receiving it. The report found that 222 people in Arkansas needed treatment for illicit substance abuse, 294,000 required treatment for an alcohol use disorder, and 377,000 needed treatment for a diagnosed substance use disorder.

What types of treatment are available in Arkansas?

Arkansas rehab facilities are equipped to help with multiple addiction types including alcohol addiction, stimulant addiction (such as cocaine, crack, and meth), opioid addiction (such as heroin, fentanyl, and prescription painkillers), and behavioral addictions such as porn, gambling, and internet addiction. 

Addiction treatment will often involve either a stay in a residential facility or an outpatient treatment program and Arkansas has many payment options (including Medicaid) to support the financial obligation of treatment. In addition, there are free and or state-funded rehabs that offer evidence-based treatment for those who do not have access to addiction treatment payment. 

There are also a range of counselling and therapy options available in Arkansas that can help with addiction, as well as support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or SMART Recovery.