Looking for the most used drugs in Arkansas? The list might surprise you. The latest Arkansas Epidemiological State Profile of Substance Abuse (AFMC) report is in.

Per state data, nearly 30,000 residents seek substance abuse treatment yearly. The main substance at the time of entry usually falls into one of six top drug types.

This only paints a partial picture though. People don’t always get help when they need it. Per AFMC data, 2.1% of the adult population needs treatment, but doesn’t receive it for one reason or another.

SAMHSA says roughly 11.11% of Arkansas adults use a substance illicitly. The number seems small. Yet, it still means nearly 254,000 adults are illicitly using a substance. This includes those using prescription meds improperly and those using an illegal substance.

Info from these two sources is below. This gives a more complete overview of what the top 6 drugs are in Arkansas.

1. Alcohol

Although many don’t consider alcohol to be a “drug,” it is classified as one. Reports show alcohol abuse is declining. Yet, it remains the most widely used drug in Arkansas.

Moreover, Arkansas leads the country for binge drinking intensity. The average binge drinker in the state consumes 841 drinks annually. People in the number-two state, Mississippi, consume 831.8. Kentucky, which comes in third, averages out to just 652.8.

Researchers further note that drug-related poisonings and suicides are on the rise. Alcohol-related deaths, specifically, have risen 61% since 2005.

According to SAMHSA, almost 44% of the adult population consumes alcohol. More than 8,500 people enter treatment for alcohol dependence each year per AFMC.

2. Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine statistics are a bit misleading. SAMHSA indicates less than 1% of adults use this potent stimulant. Yet, dependence is on the rise and more than 6,600 seek treatment annually according to AFMC.

3. Marijuana

Arkansas lags behind the national average for marijuana use. Yet, nearly 12% of the adult population still uses it per SAMHSA. AFMC indicates it’s the primary drug at entry for more than 6,200 people in Arkansas per year as well.

4. Opioids and Synthetics

When many people think of opioids, it’s heroin that comes to mind. Heroin is deadly, but it was only responsible for 15 deaths in the last reporting year. Synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl, was responsible for 68. Deaths nearly doubled year-on-year. That said, it’s prescription opioids responsible for most opioid-related fatalities in Arkansas. In the last reporting year, 125 people died.

While the good news is that opioid use is declining, it remains a large problem for the state. Arkansas prescribes more opioid pain relievers than the national average. More than 4,500 people in Arkansas seek treatment for opioid dependence annually. This per AFMC data.

5. Cocaine/ Crack

Nearly 1.5% of the population has used cocaine within the last year per SAMHSA. This is lower than the national average of 2.26%. Even still, AFMC indicates more than 1,200 seek treatment for cocaine each year.

6. Amphetamines

Amphetamines include drugs used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD). Adderall, Ritalin, and Dexedrine fall within the group. SAMHSA doesn’t split the stimulants out in their report. Combined, AFMC says more than 1,200 seek treatment for amphetamine abuse each year.

It’s worth noting amphetamines are responsible for 21% of drug-related arrests. They’re second only to marijuana. Opioids are the third most common substance in drug-related arrests. They only account for 7% of the total though.

The Most Used Drugs in Arkansas List Doesn’t Include Everything

Even though the top six account for most drug use in Arkansas, they don’t include everything. The state report shows 1,500 people receive treatment each year for substances that don’t make the list.

Get Drug Abuse Treatment in Arkansas

It doesn’t matter whether you or a loved one is dependent on a substance in the top six or something else. If drug use is impacting your life and health, you don’t have to suffer through it alone.

Get the support and tools you need to be successful from a top treatment center. Call Rehab adviser today to get you on the road to recovery!


  1. Arkansas State Epidemiological Outcomes Group (2017). “2017 Arkansas Epidemiological State Profile of Substance Abuse.” Retrieved from https://afmc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/OADAP_SEOW-2017-State-Report-Book_v3.3.pdf.
  2. Carroll, S. (19 Mar. 2018). “Arkansas has the most intense level of binge drinking in the country, according to the CDC.” Retrieved from https://katv.com/news/local/arkansas-has-the-most-intense-binge-drinkers-in-country-according-to-cdc-study.
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). “Alcohol.” Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/alcohol.
  4. National Institute on Drug Abuse (Apr. 2019). “Arkansas Opioid Summary.” Retrieved from https://d14rmgtrwzf5a.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/21948-arkansas-opioid-summary.pdf.
  5. Stromquist, K. (12 Jun. 2019). “Report notes rising rates of deaths by suicide, alcohol, drugs.” Retrieved from https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2019/jun/12/report-notes-rising-rates-of-deaths-by-/.
  6. U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (n.d.). “2017-2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Model-Based Prevalence Estimates (50 States and the District of Columbia).” Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt23235/2k18SAEExcelTabs/NSDUHsaePercents2018.pdf.

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