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Arkansas Opioid Summary

Revised February 2018

Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths

In 2016, there were 169 opioid-related overdose deaths­­­ in Arkansas—a rate of 5.9 deaths per 100,000 persons—compared to the national rate of 13.3 deaths per 100,000.

This graph shows the rate of opioid-related overdose deaths in Arkansas compared to the United States from 1999-2016. In 2016, the opioid overdose death rate was 5.9 deaths per 100,000 persons in Arkansas, versus 13.3 deaths per 100,000 persons in the United States.

Opioid Pain Reliever Prescriptions

In 2013, Arkansas providers wrote 117.5 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons (approximately 3.5 million prescriptions). In the same year, the average U.S. rate was 79.3. Since then, opioid prescriptions in the U.S. have declined, with a nearly 5.0 percent decline in Arkansas from 2013 to 2015, resulting in an estimated 111.2 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons (3.3 million prescriptions) in 2015 (IMS Health, 2016). 

This graph shows the number of opioid-related overdose deaths in Arkansas from 1999-2016. In 2016, there were 169 opioid-related overdose deaths: 38 involved synthetic opioids, 13 involved heroin, and 132 involved prescription opioids. Categories are not mutually exclusive because deaths may involve more than one drug.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)

The incidence of NAS in Arkansas increased from 0.4 per 1,000 births in 2004 to 2.6 per 1,000 births in 2013—a nearly sevenfold increase. The average across the 28 states included in the 2013 analysis was 6.0 per 1,000 births (CDC, MMWR, 2014).

HIV Prevalence and HIV Diagnoses Attributed to Injection Drug Use (IDU)

  • U.S. Incidence: In 2015, 9.1 percent (3,5941) of the 39,513 new diagnoses of HIV in the United States were attributed to IDU. Among new cases, 8.2 percent (2,6141) of cases among men and 13.2 percent (980) of cases among women were transmitted via IDU (CDC).
  • U.S. Prevalence: In 2014, 955,081 Americans were living with a diagnosed HIV infection—a rate of 299.5 per 100,000 persons. Of these, 18.1 percent (131,0561) of males and 22.6 percent (52,013) of females were living with HIV attributed to IDU (CDC).
  • State Incidence: Of the new HIV cases in 2015, 258 occurred in Arkansas, with 7.6 percent1 of new cases in males and 24.0 percent of new cases in females attributed to IDU (AIDSVu).
  • State Prevalence: In 2014, an estimated 5,174 persons were living with a diagnosed HIV infection in Arkansas—a rate of 210 per 100,000 persons. Of these, 16.4 percent1 of males and 18.8 percent of females were living with HIV attributed to IDU (AIDSVu).

Hepatitis C (HCV) Prevalence and HCV Diagnoses Attributed to Injection Drug Use

  • U.S. Incidence: In 2015, there were 181,871 reported cases of chronic HCV and 33,900 estimated cases of acute HCV2 (CDC). Where data were available, 64.2 percent of acute cases reported IDU (CDC).
  • U.S. Prevalence: An estimated 3.5 million Americans are living with HCV, including approximately 2.7 million living with chronic infections (CDC).
  • State Incidence: In 2015, Arkansas reported two new cases of acute HCV at a rate of 0.1 per 100,000 persons (CDC). In 2013, Arkansas reported 30 cases of acute HCV, but the state estimated at least 402 new acute cases. In a subgroup of >30-year-olds, there were 853 identified cases of chronic HCV (248 new cases), and IDU was reported in 378 of these cases (Arkansas.gov).
  • State Prevalence: An estimated 1.8 percent (37,709) of Arkansas adults are living with HCV. Among persons who inject drugs (1.4 percent of Arkansas adults), 33.7 percent have HCV attributed to IDU (Arkansas.gov).

Additional Resources

NIH RePORTER FY2017 NIH-funded projects related to opioid use and use disorder in Arkansas: 1


  1. Includes transmission to individuals with injection drug use as a risk factor.
  2. 2015 estimate after adjusting for under-ascertainment and under-reporting. Data for 2015 were unavailable for Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Iowa, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Wyoming.

This page was last updated February 2018

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