Texarkana, TX 76° View Live Radar Thu H 75° L 57° Fri H 79° L 62° Sat H 81° L 64° Weather Sponsored By:

'An equal-opportunity disease'

'An equal-opportunity disease'

Opioid crisis affects all walks of life in Texarkana

January 13th, 2018 by Gazette Staff in Texarkana News

EDITOR'S NOTE: Today is the first of a three-part series examining how the opioid crisis has affected Texarkana. Today's stories offer an overview of the ground covered in the coming days, a woman whose obsession with pain pills and then other drugs led to incarceration and a look at how local doctors are curbing misuse and abuse of opioids. Sunday's stories highlight the surge of prescriptions written for opioids and how people's usage affects the court system and law enforcement. Monday's stories will examine local treatment methods for those addicted to opioids and highlight a former nurse who has had the unconditional support of her family through her struggles to beat the addiction.


While the opioid crisis grips the nation, Texarkana is not immune to the allure and pitfalls of drugs in this class.

The problem here doesn't compare to some areas of the country, but is still an issue local officials are addressing.

Unlike many other addictions that start with illegal activity, most of those addicted to opioids started out with a precription from a trusted family physician.

"This just didn't happen in the past year or two. I've seen a shift from street drugs to pharmaceuticals as long as 10 years ago when I was still a prosecutor," said Carlton Jones, an Arkansas circuit judge who serves Miller and Lafayette counties and presides over a drug court.

Opioids are generally intended to be used as painkillers. In most cases, taking the prescribed dose is the way it begins. The drugs create feelings of euphoria, but as patients' tolerance to the drugs increases, those feelings fade. Patients must take more and more to get the same effect.

In reality, those phenomenal feelings are short-lived, as so much is lost in the process: the trust of family and friends, freedom, jobs and relationships.

Those on the frontlines of the issue will tell you the faces of the epidemic would surprise you.

One official calls opioid addiction "an equal-opportunity disease," as it affects people from every walk of life and socioeconomic class.

"I think the general public would be surprised to see a composite of what our patients look like," said Anne Saqer, operations coordinator for Arkansas Treatment Services. "We treat people from every walk of life and socioeconomic class business owners, white-collar professionals, food-service workers and even other health care providers. Opioid addiction is an equal-opportunity disease and respects no socioeconomic boundaries."

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Texarkana Gazette Comments Policy

The Texarkana Gazette web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Gazette web sites and any content on the Gazette web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Gazette, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Gazette web sites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Texarkana Gazette
15 Pine Street
Texarkana, TX 75501
Phone: 903-794-3311
Email: webeditor@texarkanagazette.com