Report: Arkansas Ranks Among States That Use The Most Prescription Painkillers

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ARKANSAS (KFSM) – Arkansas is one of the top states in the nation when it comes to the highest amount of people using prescription painkillers, according to a new report published on Tuesday (Dec. 9).

The report was published by a Fortune 100 pharmacy benefit management company called Express Scripts. The report gave detailed information on several topics relating to prescription painkiller (specifically opioids like morphine and OxyContin) usage, including states had the highest amount of it.

“Prescription opioids can provide patients with clinically safe and effective pain management. However, the potential for misuse and addiction requires vigilance and exemplary coordination of care,” the report states.

The report states that of the 25 cities with the highest prevalence of longer-term opioid use, 24 had populations of fewer than 100,000 people.

On average, 3.9 percent of Americans were using prescription opioids on a longer-term basis in 2013, according to the report. In smaller cities, the average of people using them on a longer-term basis is 5.1 percent, the report states.

Among small cities with fewer than 28,000 residents, the top five had between 12.3 percent and 18 percent of their population using prescription opioids and were located predominately in Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky, according to the report.

Yahoo News reported that 41 of the 50 cities with the highest prevalence for opioid use in America were found in the four states named above.

To view the full report, click here.

State with the Highest Average Prevalence of Opioid Use


  • Richard S. Drake

    My doctors have always carped at me because I have never used ENOUGH oxycodone. It’s never done much for my pain level.
    But folks who look down their noses at folks on pain medication?
    Met THEM live a life filled with chronic pain . . . for just a month.

  • Dan

    Wondering how this works? I am switching Primary Care doctors (mine is retiring). I call, ask if they take my insurance, they tell me yes or no, then they add ‘but we will not provide prescriptions for narcotics or anxiety meds.’ I called 5 different clinics/Dr. offices and got the same response. Got into a good practice, they don’t prescribe pain meds, but they have a good doctor.

  • Dan

    “Residents ages 45-64 make up the highest proportion of users in these high prevalence cities.”

    “Higher opioid usage rates in less populated southern cities could be the result of a variety of factors. Although small population size allows for a greater likelihood of high prevalence mathematically, one probable contributor is the prevalence of chronic and debilitating diseases that impact the southern region of the country. There are especially high rates of obesity and diabetes in these states, conditions that often have associated pain that may require opioid treatment. Access to clinical care is another variable. Those living in less populated, more rural areas often have less access to clinicians, particularly specialists. Opioids may be prescribed more frequently when there are limited care alternatives available.”

    “Longer-term users were defined as those prescribed an opiate pain medication for more than a 30-day supply in a one-year period.”
    These are quotes taken from the full pdf report. Otherwise, it makes our state look like a bunch of druggies. The ‘full report’ link on this page will take you to the summary. You have to go to the actual full pdf report to get all information. —-If you had a 30 day script for something then, 8 months later, had a 10 day script, you were a long term user. Just FYI on the last part. When they first said long term users I was thinking more on than off, but in reality you it is only 31 days.

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