September is National Recovery Month. It is a national observance held every to promote and support new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices.
In 2021, more than 200 Arkansans died from opioid-related causes. And 37% of inmates admitted to the Division of Correction had a drug offense.
Medical researchers now consider dependence on alcohol or drugs to be a chronic disease, characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences.
However, people can and do recover.
Recovery is a process of change through which people improve their health and strive to reach their full potential. This process may include clinical treatment, medications, faith-based approaches, and peer support. There are 148 treatment centers across Arkansas and several peer support groups.
The General Assembly continues to look at ways to prevent and treat substance abuse.
In the 2021 Regular Session, the General Assembly passed Act 651 which requires healthcare providers to co-prescribe an opioid antagonist, such as Naloxone, when prescribing opioids under certain conditions.
In 2019, the General Assembly passed Act 964 which prohibits a healthcare insurer, including the Arkansas Medicaid Program, from requiring prior authorization for medication-assisted treatment of opioid addiction.
The legislature also passed Act 951 which allows individuals with prior drug-related offenses to work with individuals receiving substance abuse treatment as peer support specialists.
Individuals who have served jail time can often have the most success in reaching individuals struggling with substance abuse addiction. This legislation removed a barrier giving providers a necessary resource to combat drug abuse.
There are millions of Americans whose lives have been transformed through recovery.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse we encourage you to look at the resources available in our state. You can find the information at www.artakeback.org.