Like the rest of the United States, the drug and alcohol abuse issues affecting Americans have not spared the residents of Oklahoma. In particular, every year the state loses more than 1,000 lives to a drug related overdose incident.
Most of these fatalities are linked to popular substances of abuse, such as opioid prescription pain relief medications, illicit opioids like heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and its analogs. However, some of them are also caused by other drugs like methamphetamine and alcohol.
From 2003 to 2018, the state witnessed an increase of 91 percent in the total number of fatalities that were caused by a drug overdose. Of this number, adults aged between 25 and 64 years comprised the largest section of the population that accidentally died from opioid poisoning or overdose. This number was also higher than that of the deaths that were caused by motor vehicle accidents.
To address the problem, Oklahoma created a commission on opioid abuse back in 2017. From their findings, state legislators created and passed 7 laws that were designed to manage the growing opioid epidemic.
According to these laws, doctors are limited to a given number of prescriptions that they can write for opioid medications for any single client. As a result, the state has witnessed an incredible decline in the number of deaths linked to this class of powerful drugs.
However, it is now estimated that there are common substances of abuse that people take in Oklahoma. Every year, for instance, the state reports that more than 300,000 people struggle with a drug or alcohol abuse and addiction problem. Unfortunately, only about 30 percent of these people receive the health care and treatment services that they need to attain a lifestyle of sobriety.
From 2014 to 2017, for instance, methamphetamine was responsible for an increase in 70 percent in the total number of overdose deaths that it caused. This goes to show that the state needs to continue tightening its grip on the drug war.
Since the 2000s, the state has witnessed an increase in the rates of prescription medication abuse and addiction among its residents. Further, there was an increase of over 256 percent in the number of deaths arising from a meth overdose. Today, however, prescription drugs are responsible for the greatest substance problem in the state.
Health care providers such as doctors, physicians, and pharmacists wrote more than 80 prescriptions for opioid pain relief medications for every segment of 100 people in Oklahoma. This number was higher than the total average at the national level, which was at 51 prescriptions for a similar population segment.
In 2018 also, 43 percent of all drug overdose fatalities reported in the state were linked to this class of medications. This totaled to 308 deaths arising from opioid abuse and addiction, at a rate of more than 7.5 fatalities for every segment of 100,000 people.
While struggling with a substance use disorder in Oklahoma - or any other co-occurring medical or mental health disorder - it is recommended that you seek professional help from an accredited and licensed addiction treatment center so that you can turn your life around.