Tuesday, April 23, 2019

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Texarkana, Arkansas

About The City

Texarkana, Arkansas is the county seat of Miller County, with a current population estimated at just under 155,000. It is the 12th-largest city in Arkansas in terms of residency, with a total area of 41.81 square miles.

Racial makeup is primarily Caucasian, at 66%, and African American, at 32%. Asian, Native American, and Pacific Islander round out the rest, and Hispanic or Latino of any race comprises nearly 2% of the populace. In 2017, the median Texarkana income for a household with a family was under $40,000, below the state average. In the 2010 Census, males earned an average income of $35,204, versus $21,731 for women of equal jobs.

Public education is provided by two districts: Texarkana, Arkansas and Genoa Central. The Texarkana Arkansas School District oversees most of the city’s schools, while the Genoa Central School District solely overseas those schools within the city’s southeast area.

Texarkana, Arkansas shares a similar drug culture with much of the state. Pot and alcohol are most popular with young people, college-aged and below. For those older, prescription opiates are the city’s largest problem. Treatment admissions for cocaine typically shows poly-use, or more than one drug in the system at the time of admittance. Heroin use is growing in conjunction with usage in the rest of the state, especially as misuse of painkillers fails, after time, to deliver its desired effect on the part of the user.   

Any examination of Texarkana’s drug problem, however, should include statewide statistics for perspective.

Statewide Drug Issues

The following bullet points elucidate some general information about Arkansas’ most notable current drug issues:

  • Arkansas is ranked #25 in the United States for drug overdose mortality rates;
  • The number of drug overdose deaths in the state have nearly tripled since 1999;
  • The majority of overdose deaths are from misuse of prescription opiates, which outnumber the deaths from heroin and cocaine combined;
  • Annual drug overdose deaths exceed annual deaths from motor vehicle accidents;
  • Sales of prescription painkillers have quadrupled since 1999;
  • On a more positive note, Arkansas has received a grade of 60% – six out of ten – in its implementation of promising strategies, from a list, to curb statewide abuse. Such strategies include a drug return program, which has been hugely successful in having residents turn in their unused prescription drugs.

Texarkana, Arkansas is a beautiful, natural city full of parks and greenery. Little Rock, primarily, and other large cities are central to drug traffickers. Accessible transportation to and from the various cities creates an equal access of drug availability.

Texarkana Citywide Drug Issues

Relative to Texarkana’s drug culture are recent headlines proclaiming its recent drug arrests: Major Drug Bust Nets 20 Arrests, Six Pending; Massive Texarkana/Miller County Drug Bust Yields Methamphetamine Find; DeKalb Man Sentenced to Eight Years for Drug Trafficking; Feds Charge Two with Conspiracy to Traffic Cocaine, Ecstasy and Xanax During Operation Timez Up.

Indeed, Operation Timez Up represents the latest effort on the part of the city to curb its trafficking issues, which have remained in a sustained growth phase since 2000. As of November 3, 2017, days following the operation’s inauguration, over a dozen suspects were arrested for drug-related offenses. Those involved in Operation Timez Up include members from the Bi-State (8th South Judicial) Narcotics Task Force, along with members from the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department, the Miller County Sheriff’s Office, and the FBI. Though formed to handle a single series of busts, the operation is intended to continue.

On a statistical basis, similar to other Arkansas area affected by drugs, we must look at the percentage of Texarkana’s senior population. Approximately 35% of the city’s residents are 65 or older. Prevalent within the mid-sized city are numerous assisted living facilities, senior living communities, and nursing homes.

That said, the majority of Texarkana’s seniors live at home. For those who do, prescription painkillers are prevalent. Deaths from misuse is strong in this demographic. Further, parents of many children use prescription opiates to cope with pain, or to further their addiction. For those who are unwilling or unable, for whatever the reason, to turn in their unused drugs, many children of these parents have taken to steal the medication to sell or trade on the street for their own preferred pot or alcohol.

This has become not only an issue affecting various cities and counties in the state of Arkansas, but part of the national opioid epidemic.

Meth is common, and frequently produced by Mexican DTOs, or Caucasians who have created viable drug businesses.

The primary difficulty of Texarkana’s proactive efforts to fight the drug scourge with education, its drug return program, and the strength and determination of its local authorities, once again remains the accessibility of the substances, and also the deficit of such education when a notable percentage of young students earn more money selling opioids, than they do working part time jobs.   

As it regards treatment centers, one in five such admissions are said to be due to substance intoxication as a secondary cause – in car accidents for example – and one in ten as the primary cause.

As with the state itself, since 2015 cocaine and meth treatment center admissions have slightly decreased. Heroin use has slightly increased year-to-year, and is presently a major concern. Misuse of opioids remains the Texarkana’s greatest issue. 

The Multiple Stages of Abuse

The initial stage of substance usage is experimental. If the high or other desired effect is attained, recreational use usually follows. For those who choose to experiment with either alcohol or drugs, and said desired effect is not attained, the majority go no further or perhaps try once more following their first use.

Most, however, do attain their high, which leads to the problem.

Continued use is the second state, and tolerance is the third, as the user will look for bigger fixes as old tolerances no longer apply. Abuse is the fourth stage, followed by addiction. 

Among the steps that must be taken to support the struggles of an addict, while breaking him or her away from their addiction, include: removing the addict from their negative environment (including the company of dealers and fellow abusers) and placing them within a therapeutic community, the necessity of entering a rehab program and participating in psychological and emotional counseling (and sometimes physical rehab), and how to spot triggers so as to hedge against relapsing. 

Where should I go? Locally/Away?

Pre-Intake

Pre-intake is the process whereby a concerned user believes they may have a problem, and they begin the process of seeking help. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • “How long have I been using?”
  • “Do I believe I have a problem?”
  • “Do I think others who know me believe I have a substance-related problem?”
  • “Does it matter to me?”
  • “Have others confronted me with questions related to substance abuse?”
  • “Do I use alone, or in hiding?”
  • “Have I ever substituted one drug for another, thinking one particular drug was the problem?”
  • “Do I find the thought of running out of drugs scary?”
  • “Have I ever been in a jail, a hospital, or a drug rehabilitation center because of any using in the past?”
  • “Is this what I want with my life?

If you find your answers to the following questions alarming, we suggest that you follow up with other, more positive questions:

  • “What are my life’s goals?”
  • “Where do I want to be in my life one year from now?”
  • “Where do I want to be in my life five years from now?”
  • “Where do I want to be in my life ten years from now?

If like many users you cannot answer such goal-related questions, try this: “Where do I want to be tomorrow?” If your answer to this question is dark, or bleak, and related to depression, it’s time to seek treatment. Similarly, if your answer is something positive, the very fact that you have come to this point and have begun researching options also means it’s time to seek treatment.

If you do, your tomorrow may be exactly what you want it to be.

A brief disclaimer: As with any other self-diagnostic tool, questions such as these are exploratory only. You must speak to a trained and licensed professional for any true diagnosis. Still, answering these questions can be extremely useful, and insightful. Remember, if you are under the influence as you answer, you may not be the best arbiter of your responses. If, however, you can be truthful with your responses, the results of your subsequent efforts can be invaluable.

Intake

During the intake application process, you will be required to list your prescription medications and days and times taken (if “none,” you check “none”), an authorization of medical care, a list of allergies or other medical issues, and a waiver of responsibility. Some applications ask more. A physician or treatment center representative will then review your application for the proper steps, and treatment.

One of the greatest benefits of a well-thought treatment plan is that every day will bring a new step in your treatment, and each step will lead to another. During this process, you may well learn of the stringency and urgency of structure, especially if your problem is too large for outpatient therapy, and in-patient will be your next step. The structure you learn and the discipline you will attain will help you immensely during one of the advanced stages of your formal treatment process: the sober house.

Conversely, one of the more difficult aspects of the intake process is one of trust. We all know that a user does not always trust easily. If you fall into this category, we need to reinforce to you that your treatment team is there for you. They will spend the time working with you and for you. In as much as you can, speak to them openly. If you believe a given treatment as administered by a professional is disagreeable to you, you need to make that known to them.

We’ve spoken about the power of commitment on these pages before. There will be an element in your treatment of letting go of any defiance and trusting others. Trust usually comes in time.

As we said, intake is but a step in a larger process.

Detoxification Services

Detox addresses the physical hold of an addiction. The length of a detox program will vary based on several factors, including the nature of the addiction, and of the addict’s personality. Regarding the former, chemical dependency frequently occurs that must be medically handled, as your brain has become fully dependent on further use of the substance in order to function. This is a medical issue that will frequently require medication to handle.

During the early phases on detoxification, withdrawal will occur which can be a painful process. Your system will be cleaned of the drug, and your brain will learn to operate as it once did. Certain withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening, which punctuates the importance of full and systemic treatment.

Factors that can influence the longevity of the detox aspect of your treatment program include:

  1. Poly-drug abuse;
  2. Pre-existing medical or mental health conditions;
  3. Your level of dependence;
  4. Genetics
  5. Previous trauma;
  6. Environment (both that of your home life and the environment of your support system)

The concept and practice of detox is typically broken down into three distinct phases: Evaluation, Stabilization, and Transition to Inpatient Drug Rehabilitation.

Evaluation: As overseen by a doctor, who will determine what drugs are presently being used, how long has the patient been using, and how much and how frequently the patient uses.

Stabilization: As expounded on the site, stabilization differs patient to patient, based on specific substance being abused. This is the end result of the withdrawal phase.

Transition to Inpatient Drug Rehab: Many addicts believe that once they complete withdrawal, they are finished with their treatment. That is a dangerous belief, as withdrawal only releases the immediate physical hold of the substance. Again, only the trained professional can make the determination of to your further treatment needs. 

Treatment

  INPATIENT TREATMENT SERVICES

Post-withdrawal, the process of your ongoing recovery can be either inpatient, or outpatient. Inpatient treatment is appropriate for more severe cases, and the generally more flexible outpatient treatment is geared towards those with a more moderate addiction (though addiction is still addiction) and a stronger support system in their home environment.

Inpatient treatment can either be a PHP (a partial hospitalization providing a highly-structured environment, with typically active treatment of 30 hours per week), the less-intensive IOP (intensive outpatient treatment plan, which requires up to three hours daily over 3-5 days, for a total of nine hours weekly; therapy is usually included, but the patient can live either at their own home or a halfway house during the process), or an RTC (residential).

Most inpatient therapies, regardless of option will last 5-10 days. They can last longer based on the severity of the problem, and the patient’s physical and mental fitness.

Among its services, a PHP will most frequently incorporate intensive one on one therapy in its treatment program. The reason for this is most PHP admissions are due to disturbances in behavior from the drug being abused, or for those who experience otherwise increased symptomatology. In a PHP, the patient is often isolated and of no risk to other patients. 

PHPs and RTCs are highly-structured treatment options. PHPs are the most structured options of all. If you have little structure in your home environment, both of these invaluable choices will likely take some time getting used to. That said, the importance to your overall treatment plan cannot be understated.

Note: Substance use disorder treatment is listed as one of the 10 Most Essential Health Benefits of the Affordable Care Act, meaning that your care is covered if you have health insurance. If you do not have insurance, many treatment centers offer financial aid.

Always ask when you speak to a treatment advisor if this is a concern, as inpatient treatment is more expensive than outpatient.

 

 

  OUTPATIENT TREATMENT RESOURCES

 Outpatient treatment is often preferred when one has substantial duties in their outside environment, such as school or family. In fact, family and friend group therapy is often included in this option, which is quite flexible in its scheduling. Outpatient treatment has proven to be very effective for those with underlying causes for their addiction, such as eating disorders, to grasp the root of their substance-related issues in a more relaxed setting among familiar support systems.

As an outpatient, you are not enmeshed in a structured environment, you live at home and you are not under constant supervision.

However, outpatient treatment is no less important or helpful than inpatient treatment. Though the scheduling of your appointments may be flexible, you still need to commit to the time. If you miss one appointment, you will likely miss another. 

Ask yourself if you are responsible enough for an outpatient program. If you are, and you maintain your treatment, the rewards can be innumerable.

Both inpatient and outpatient treatment are comprehensive approaches to wellness. You will face temptations in both but as long as you remain responsible, you will also learn specific strategies as to how to deal with them. It is up to you to take advantage of those lessons. 

Should I choose inpatient or outpatient?

AFTERCARE AND SOBER LIVING RESOURCES

Sober living may be the final step in your formal treatment plan before returning home, but treatment never really ends. Sober living houses provide the interim environment between rehab and mainstreaming back to your natural environment. The reason for the initial formation of sober houses was simple: a person in recovery frequently needed a safe and supportive place to stay, during the vulnerability of early recovery, prior to returning home.

Sober houses are also highly-structured, and most residents are referred to a sober living environment from a rehab center. Requirements and rules are strict, and they usually include:

      No drugs or alcohol on the premises;

      No violence;

      No overnight or sleepover guests, not even family;

      Commitment to random drug testing;

      Involvement in a community-related program;

      Acceptance by a peer group;

      Acceptance of advice from treatment professionals;

      Respect for the rules of the house;

      Following all directions;

      No swearing;

      No stealing;

      No sexual activity between residents;

      Honesty;

    As part of a recovering community, if you see or hear any resident breaking the rules of the community, they must be reported immediately to appropriate staff;

      Anyone on prescribed medication must inform the house manager upon admittance;

      Residents must attend all sober house meetings;

      Residents must submit to drug and/or alcohol tests upon request;

      Rooms must be clean at all times;

      Chores must be completed without argument;

      Curfew must be respected.

Many of the above rules are enforced with a Zero Tolerance Policy. Meaning, if any of these rules are broken even once, you risk being kicked out of your sober living home. If you had experienced structure during your prior treatment to this point, you should be in good shape.

A benefit of many sober houses is that staff frequently are former addicts themselves. This is a benefit for two primary reasons: 1) They understand the struggle, and 2) They are living examples of former addicts who have successfully completed treatment and are now giving back. Some of these former addicts work on salary, and some happily volunteer their time.

Sober houses are most successful when utilized (in conjunction with a formal treatment plan) for a designated period of time. Do not expect all residents to attain equal success during this stage. You will likely come to know your peers through intensive group counseling. You will also undergo one-on-one therapy, but in the group setting you will notice your peers’ various stages of recovery. You will form opinions but always remind yourself that you are there for reason.

And that reason is to take care of you. 

Outlook

Texarkana, Arkansas has a large amount of drug-related arrests yearly. Though on its surface that comment may imply an issue out of control, in fact both Texarkana and the state of Arkansas have been among the most proactive states in the county in terms of combating addiction issues with education, a highly successful take back program, and strong efforts by law enforcement. Operation Timez Up was formed in late-2017, and is expected to continue to yield strong results.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has a substantial presence in Texarkana, as they do in the rest of the state, and they are supportive of outside efforts to help curb the city’s drug problems. 

The largest issue, consistent with present statewide (and national) trends, is that the abuse of prescription opioids is not only a problem for those who use, but also with the children of those who use who steal the medication to sell on the street, or otherwise trade for pot or alcohol – preferred substances for their own personal usage. 

Heroin, a synthetic opioid, is popular but has increased only slightly year-to-year since 2015. BUT heroin remains a strong concern. Meth also remains a clear and present danger, as it’s been since the turn of the millennium, but treatment admissions for meth are substantially lower than they were a decade ago. Cocaine use is also below the national average, according to many recent statistics, though the drug is still accessible in the area.

Arkansas’ TakeBack program has been a major success. Literally tons of drugs are turned in  yearly. Still, Caucasian and Mexican drug traffickers continue to take advantage of the myriad of transportation systems in Texarkana and the surrounding areas, and the state’s ensuing drug problems, as such, continue to evolve. Trafficking crosses lines between Arkansas and easily-accessible states, including Texas and Oklahoma.

Based in part on recent statistics and studies, our outlook for Texarkana is this:

  • Drug traffickers will continue to pivot and take advantage of the opioid epidemic;
  • Stronger synthetic heroin will increase production;
  • Opioid abuse will increase pending still-further efforts;
  • Pot and Alcohol use will remain consistent, especially popular among young people;
  • Cocaine may continue to decrease, but will remain readily-accessible

For yourself, your friends and/or your family, we advise that you continue to be aware of your community’s substance issues, and suggest that you join in Texarkana’s efforts to curb drug abuse.

Awareness and communication, as ever, is imperative to any such effort.

Our website, The Recover, is loaded with treatment information and options for the user in all stages of addiction. If you are a beginning user, and have been drawn to this page thinking you may have a problem, or if you are someone who believes he or she has a current drug abuse issue that must be immediately handled, we ask that you also review other pages on this site. We are here for you. Our search bar above will help you find further information as to your city, or your needs. Feel free to keep in touch with us, and let us know of your progress.  

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