The latest numbers from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show Arkansas had the second-highest opioid prescribing rate in the nation in 2016, after Alabama. There are enough painkiller prescriptions being filled for every Arkansan to have a bottle.
The rates reflect the number of initial and refill prescriptions dispensed per 100 people at retail (non-hospital) pharmacies, which represent 88% of prescriptions in the United States. For Arkansas, the rate is 114.6.
The CDC also used retail pharmacy receipts from 2015 to look at county-level prescribing rates. The figures accounted for differences in drug type and strength.
The heaviest prescribing counties in Arkansas are Sebastian, Crawford, and Boone with a rate more than two and half times the national average.
While opioid prescribing rates in central Arkansas counties like Pulaski, Saline, Faulkner, and Lonoke have been stable or have decreased, they are still above the national average as well.