Residents of Hempstead, Howard, Pike, Polk and Sevier counties live in a medically underserved area. Coupled with a scarcity of medical and social services, they also face a higher-than-average opioid prescription-drug rate and high levels of illicit drug misuse. The stigma about mental health treatment makes opioid use disorder treatment and recovery particularly challenging.
Key Characteristics of Target Counties
% of Adults who experienced four or more ACEs (BRFSS, 2018)
Foster Care Rate per 1,000 Children (DHS, 2019)
Child Maltreatment Rate per 1,000 Children (DHS, 2019)
As shown below, the prescription rates per 100 persons for each county are Hempstead 72.2, Howard 99.6, Pike 118.9, Polk 96.9 and Sevier 64.8. Pike County ranks ninth highest opioid prescription rate in the state, while Howard ranks 34th, Polk 41st, Hempstead 68th and Sevier 71st. In 2019, Arkansas rates were so severe that it was placed second for highest opioid prescription rates at 80.9. National data has not been released for 2020, but we do know Arkansas was at 86.3.
2020 Opioid Prescription Rate per 100 persons – Arkansas State Rate: 86.3
For all Arkansas students, the average response to the question “on how many occasions have you used prescription drugs not prescribed to you” was 4.1 average occasions for lifetime use and 2.2 average occasions for use in the past 30 days.
Both Hempstead and Howard counties had higher average responses than the state average responses for prescription drug misuse for lifetime use and use in the past 30 days, while Polk County had lower average responses.
Hempstead County students’ average response for prescription drug misuse was 4.6 average occasions for lifetime use and 3.6 average occasions in the past 30 days.
Howard County responses for prescription drug misuse averaged 4.6 occasions for lifetime use and 4.6 occasions for use in the past 30 days.
Polk County students’ average response for prescription drug misuse was 3.0 and 1.1 occasions for use in the past 30 days.
*No data is available for Pike or Sevier counties.
Average response to “on how many occasions have you used prescription drugs not prescribed to you …” in 2020–2021