Oklahoma Addiction Treatment and Info

Oklahoma is beautiful state with some truly rich history. However, the state has had several steep challenges in its history. Drug and substance use and abuse is, today, firmly established as one of this state's greatest spoilers. As it stands, far too many residents are losing their lives, or losing loved ones, to drugs.

The opioid issue is through the roof, with the icing on this rank cake being the ordering of Johnson & Johnson to pay the state a total of $572 million for the act of "fueling the opioid crisis". This alone should show just how bad the opioid blight has become. The state is however working hard to clean up its act. Several aggressive plans have been put in place to help the residents of the state make genuine recoveries.

Addiction in Oklahoma

With Oklahoma's sweeping Great Plains and wealthy pioneer history, the state is home to cultural and natural attractions alike. But beneath these qualities is a darker reality. An estimated 600 to 800 people are on waiting lists every day for inpatient addiction treatment in the state of Oklahoma.

As the country-wide opioid epidemic spreads, the number of people who need treatment for heroin, prescription opioid painkillers and synthetic opioids such as Fentanyl keeps climbing. Even with this demand, only about 1 in 10 Oklahoma residents in need of treatment for opioid addiction actually end up receiving it.

To fill this gap, it is vital that more concise addiction treatment options be made available to residents of Oklahoma and their families.

The following substances are prevalently abused in the state:

  • Alcohol
  • Cocaine (including crack)
  • Heroin
  • Marijuana
  • Methamphetamine
  • Prescription benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax)
  • Prescription opioid painkillers (OxyContin, Vicodin)
  • Prescription stimulant ADHD medications (Adderall, Ritalin)

Abuse of these substances can lead to addiction. Many of these drugs put residents at the very real risk of overdose and death.

The Oklahoma Opioid Epidemic

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fatalities which involved opioid pain relievers (OPR) have been spiking and they now surpass deaths which involve heroin and cocaine combined. In the year of 2008, the total number of deaths in the United States which involved OPR stood at 14,800.

Oklahoma ranks 9th in the country as far as overdose deaths involving OPR. The 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) results showed that Oklahoma ranked first in all age categories for consumption of nonmedical pain relievers. This is a particularly heavy statistic to weigh.

In the year 2017, there were over 388 overdose deaths--- which involved opioids in the state of Oklahoma — a rate of 10.2 fatalities per 100,000 residents, compared to the national rate of 14.6 fatalities per 100,000 residents. The most significant decline occurred among fatalities which involved prescription opioids, from 444 deaths in the year 2012 to 251 deaths in the year 2017.

Deaths which involved synthetic opioids (mainly Fentanyl) have stayed steady since the year 2010, with 102 deaths overall being reported in 2017. Those which involved heroin have climbed and increased threefold since the year 2011, from 17 fatalities to 61 fatalities in the year 2017.

In 2017, Oklahoma providers wrote a total of 88.1 opioid prescriptions for every 100 residents - a 30% decline since the year 2012, when the rate stood at 127 opioid prescriptions per 100 residents. The rate of overdose fatalities which involved opioid prescriptions declined from 11.8 fatalities per 100,000 residents in the year 2012, to 6.7 fatalities per 100,000 residents in the year 2017.

Of the new HIV cases linked to drug use and abuse in the year of 2016, 293 were in Oklahoma. Among males, 16.6% of new HIV cases were attributed to IDU or male-to-male contact and IDU. Among females, 13.5% of new HIV cases were attributed to IDU.

In the year 2016, 32 cases of acute HCV (0.8 cases per 100,000 residents) were reported in the state of Oklahoma. Among those cases, 62.5% reported IDU. Of the more than 700 unintentional poisoning fatalities in Oklahoma every year, six out of ten involve at least one prescription drug.

Prescription opioids are the most common class of drugs which are involved in overdose deaths in the state of Oklahoma. They are involved in approximately 85% of prescription drug-related overdose fatalities.

More overdose fatalities involve prescription opioids than all illicit drugs combined. Although there have been great steps made toward raising awareness about the vagaries of prescription drugs, many residents are still unaware that the misuse or abuse of prescription drugs can be as, or even more dangerous compared to the use of illegal drugs, leading to addiction and even death.

Common types of abused prescription opioids in Oklahoma are Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet), Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab, and Norco), morphine, and methadone. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid painkiller which is up to 10,000 times more potent than morphine. It is many times more powerful than other opioids and is only approved for treating severe pain, typically advanced cancer pain.

Commonly Abused Substances in Oklahoma

1. Prescription Drugs

For Americans ages 20-54, unintentional poisonings — primarily accidental prescription drug overdoses — have outpaced car crashes as the leading cause of mortality related to unintentional injury. The situation is especially bad in Oklahoma.

The state, in 2010, boasted the fourth-highest rate of death via unintentional poisoning in the US. According to the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), Oklahoma residents exceeded the national average for misuse and abuse of painkillers by 232%, representing a 22 percent increase since 2004.

For Oklahomans aged 25 to 64, unintentional poisoning is the leading cause of injury death. The majority of unintentional poisoning fatalities result from the misuse and abuse of opiates (painkillers), distantly followed by benzodiazepines.

In 2007 in Oklahoma, prescription painkillers were responsible for at least 427 deaths — more than meth, heroin, and cocaine combined. Indeed, opiate addiction, which was once almost synonymous with heroin addiction, now almost exclusively refers to prescription medication in Oklahoma.

Almost one in five (17%) of residents that used prescription painkillers non-medically were prescribed the medication by a doctor; 72% got the medication from a pal or relative, and 60% of those were given the medication for free (8% purchased the medication from a friend or relative, and 4% took the medication without asking). Only 4% purchased the painkillers from a dealer.

During the years of 2007-2008, Oklahoma ranked 1st among all states for the number of residents who used pain relievers for non-medical reasons, especially among persons aged 12 and above. In the year of 2009, 1,533 residents went to drug rehab for opiates other than heroin. 51.8% of these were male and 48.2% were female.

It also turned out that the users of these drugs are also not who we might expect. As the newspaper The Oklahoman wrote:

"The casualties of drug abuse are not just hard-core addicts who buy bootlegged meth, crack and heroin from street dealers. They're middle-aged and middle-class Oklahomans who start taking pain pills for bad backs and other injuries, never dreaming they could wind up tumbling down the slippery slope of addiction, or worse yet, dying from an overdose."

2. Alcohol

3,390 residents went to rehab for alcohol abuse while an added 3,304 people went into treatment for alcohol combined with another drug in the year 2009.

3. Cocaine

There were a reported 817 residents that entered drug addiction treatment in the year 2009, for smoking cocaine and another 309 people who were admitted for ingesting cocaine by other means than smoking, such as snorting.

4. Marijuana

In the year 2009, there were 3,675 residents that were admitted to treatment for marijuana addiction. 22.1% of these residents who went into treatment for marijuana dependence were aged 21-25.

5. Amphetamines

"Ice" or crystal meth is the principal drug threat coming from Mexico. Something that boosts meth inputs from Mexico is that the manufacturers there are able to produce nearly pure meth and at a lower cost than in the US. Yet another factor is that the country has been very vigilant in cracking down on meth labs, something that is really not the case in Mexico. There were 2,965 residents who went to treatment for amphetamine addiction in the year 2009.

Drug Related Fatalities and Injuries in Oklahoma

As a direct result of drug use, 687 residents died in Oklahoma in the year 2007. This is compared to the number of residents in Oklahoma that died from motor vehicle accidents (743) and firearms (482) in the same year.

Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) are the primary suppliers of wholesale quantities of methamphetamine, powder cocaine, commercial grade marijuana, and black tar heroin in the area. These DTOs use "cell heads" in Dallas and Oklahoma City to manage the wholesale narcotic distribution within individual markets. The rate of drug-induced deaths in Oklahoma exceeds the national average.

Addiction Prevention in Oklahoma

In the fall of 2017, the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services announced that they were cutting back outpatient mental health and substance abuse programs. This eliminated or reduced these forms of treatment for 189,000 Oklahoma residents. This includes treatment of opioid use disorders. Here are preventative programs and initiatives currently in place in the state:

a) The Oklahoma Commission on Opioid Abuse

This report recommended eight legislative changes to fight the opioid epidemic. It suggests that the state adopt a Good Samaritan Law. This law would protect individuals who report an overdose.

b) Think Smart Oklahoma

This campaign outlines safe disposal and storage methods to help reduce prescription drug misuse and diversion. Information on overdose prevention and naloxone, an overdose reversal drug, is also available.

c) Naloxone Project

In the year of 2013, the state passed legislation which allowed Naloxone to be dispensed to trained family members, friends and first responders, enabling them to administer this life-saving overdose reversal medication when they witness an overdose.

Addiction Treatment in Oklahoma

According to Treatment Episode Data Sets, in 2010 there were at least 16,932 residents who went to drug and alcohol rehabilitation in the state of Oklahoma. 61.6% of these were men and 38.4% were women.

The rates of alcohol dependence or abuse in the state have typically stayed at or are just below the national rates for all age categories and across all survey years. Rates of dependence on illicit drugs, on the other hand, have generally stayed at or climbed above the national levels. Of particular note is the rate of dependence on illicit drugs among those aged 26 and over.

According to the 2006 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS), there were at least 176 drug and alcohol treatment facilities in the state of Oklahoma. The number of treatment facilities in the state has climbed from a total of 146 facilities in the year 2002 to 176 facilities in 2006.

States in Brief collects data on the presence of psychological problems at the time of treatment admission in all states. The percent of admissions with co-occurring disorders in Oklahoma has increased from 17.8%in 1992 to more than 32% in 2006. In the year 2006, the last year of published data, approximately 8% of Oklahoma residents reported past-month use of illicit drugs; the national average was 8%.

The programs which follow offer a wide variety of services and programs of recovery present in Oklahoma:

i) Medical Detox

The objective of a detox program is to allow the patient's body to heal after long-term drug addiction. It does so by helping the body rid itself of the drug and then stabilizing the person so they can transition to long-term treatment.

This may take place in an inpatient or the outpatient facility, depending on the severity of the patient's addiction as well as the presence of any other medical or even mental illnesses. Generally, the more severe the patient's addiction and/or having a co-occurring disorder indicates a preference for an inpatient detox program.

ii) Inpatient Addiction Treatment

People who benefit most from an inpatient level of addiction treatment typically fall into one of three categories:

  • Individuals who are at a high risk of experiencing drug or alcohol withdrawal
  • Individuals who have experienced a relapse
  • Individuals who have tried a less intensive level of drug or alcohol treatment but were unable to stay sober

Most patients who attend inpatient rehab also struggle with a co-occurring mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety or even post-traumatic stress disorder. It is necessary to address these as well in order for the inpatient program to truly be effective.

iii) Outpatient Addiction Treatment

In outpatient treatment, clients benefit from psychotherapy, psychiatric services as well medical care, usually on a scheduled basis. On the spectrum of treatment settings that ranges from a rigid structure to flexible autonomy, outpatient alcohol and drug treatment are geared toward the latter.

Inpatient and outpatient programs will have some or even all of the common therapies which follow:

  • Individual and group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Stress management
  • Relapse-prevention techniques
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Motivational interviewing

Getting Help

The sooner you are able to access rehab, the faster you will be able to heal. If you have a drug or alcohol dependency problem, to this end, the best thing to do is approach an Oklahoma rehab facility for professional aid.















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