health as it happens

Amid new overdose report, addiction awareness critical in Northeast Arkansas - KAIT

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - According to a new report from the Associated Press, overdose deaths are up nearly 30 percent from pre-pandemic numbers.

Drug addiction is a problem across the United States, and that includes Northeast Arkansas.

“I think people look at things that are prescribed as okay, and that’s still addiction,” Northeast Arkansas Regional Recovery Center Director Megan Baird said.

According to Baird, men represent nearly three times the population of women in their programs. However, there is also a vastly under-represented population: Children.

Baird said there are currently no facilities or programs that focus on substance abuse issues with children under the age of 18.

“There’s no facility like ours for youth. And those numbers are underserved and under-reported because they’re minors. They were using Kratom, which is a synthetic opioid that’s illegal in Arkansas but legal in Missouri. They’re crossing the line and picking that up and putting it in vapes. And I believe that kind of stuff is where it starts,” she said.

She also said potential warning signs for that age group include their grades and attendance slipping at school or increased isolation. In older populations, signs typically look like a drop in attention to responsibilities such as paying bills and going to work.

Addiction issues can go unnoticed when someone is high-functioning. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have a problem.

“Functioning alcoholics can drink an excessive amount and still be functioning. Because they’re functioning, because they have a job because they’re a good mom or dad or whatever, good people can still have addictions,” Baird said.

In June, Operation Quarantine Blues in Izard County resulted in 30 arrests tied to illicit drug activity. In November, the CDC reported the United States had passed 100,000 overdose deaths in a year for the first time on record.

These issues are happening nationwide, and Northeast Arkansas is not exempt. It’s likely someone you know could be suffering behind the scenes. It’s never too late to seek help.

  • You can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration hotline at 1-800-662-4357.
  • You can call NEARRC at 870-932-0288
  • You can call Northeast Arkansas Treatment Services at 870-336-0549
  • For emergencies, call 9-11 immediately

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