Over the last few years, fatal drug overdoses have been decreasing in Oklahoma, but the state continues to have serious issues with drug abuse and addiction. Based on treatment admissions, overdose deaths, and use rates, here is a look at the most abused drugs in Oklahoma.

1. Meth

Meth is the illicit drug posing the biggest threat to Oklahoma. In 2017, over 5,600 people entered treatment for meth and 330 people overdosed on meth in Oklahoma.

Although officials are finding fewer meth labs in the state, the drug is widely available and cheaper than ever due to the supply of Mexican-based meth. Look at these facts about meth in Oklahoma.

  • Since 2014, meth has been the leading cause of drug deaths in Oklahoma. In this state, meth-related deaths are higher than deaths from all opioids combined.
  • In 2014, an ounce of meth cost between $1,000 and $1,500. By 2018, prices had dropped by more than half, and an ounce of meth cost between $250 to $800.
  • Meth makes people behave erratically. While on meth, an Oklahoma man stole a truck from outside an adult video store. There was a man sleeping in the passenger seat and a goat in the back. He drove 150 miles before being caught by police, while hiding in the grass.

2. Marijuana

Marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug in Oklahoma, but officials do not consider this drug to be as big of a threat to the state as meth. In 2017, almost 3,000 people entered treatment for marijuana in Oklahoma, which is a decrease from the previous four years.

Take a look at these facts:

  • In 2017, law enforcement seized over 2,000 pounds of marijuana from vehicles traveling through Oklahoma.
  • The potency of marijuana has increased. About 20 years ago, most marijuana was about 6 to 8% THC. Now, officials routinely seize marijuana with around 20% THC.
  • Most marijuana comes from states such as California and Colorado that have legal recreational marijuana.

3. Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs are the third biggest threat in Oklahoma. This category includes all kinds of prescription drugs, but the most commonly prescribed drugs in this state are hydrocodone, oxycodone, and alprazolam. All of these drugs have a high potential for abuse and can be deadly.

Here are the number of fatal overdoses caused by prescription drugs in Oklahoma:

  • Oxycodone 98 deaths
  • Alprazolam 73 deaths
  • Hydrocodone 73 deaths
  • Morphine 63 death
  • Fentanyl 56 deaths
  • Methadone 30 deaths
  • Diazepam 26 deaths

People get these drugs by convincing multiple doctors to write them prescriptions, stealing prescription pads, making fake calls to pharmacies, or trying other techniques. Then, they may keep these drugs for personal use or sell them to others.

To get a sense of the problem in Oklahoma, look at these facts:

  • In 2017, pharmacies in Oklahoma dispensed 4.1 million opioid prescriptions.
  • That is 106.7 prescriptions for every 100 people. In other words, there was more than one opioid prescription for every man, woman, and child in this state.
  • In 2017, 479 opioid prescriptions were filled every hour in Oklahoma.
  • Harmon County had the highest prescription rate at 293.8 opioid prescriptions for every 100 people. That equates to nearly 3 prescriptions for every single person in the county.

4. Heroin

Often, after getting addicted to prescription opioids, people turn to heroin, and data suggests this shift is happening in Oklahoma. In particular, the number of treatment admissions for prescription opioids is decreasing, but the number of heroin-related admissions is increasing.

Some of this change may be due to laws that make prescription drugs harder to get. When people cannot access these drugs, they turn to the black market. Deaths are also increasing. In 2017, there were 59 overdoses from heroin, a 62.5% jump from the previous year.

Look at some of these stories about heroin in Oklahoma:

  • The police charged a 25 year-old man with murder after he provided heroin to a woman who overdosed and died.
  • Officials charged over 35 people with drug trafficking meth and heroin. The drug ring included people in state prisons in Oklahoma.
  • In 2019, police seized 6 more pounds of heroin along I-40 than they did in 2018.

5. Cocaine

In 2017, 319 people entered treatment for cocaine in Oklahoma. Although this drug presents a threat to individual users, officials aren’t worried about the overall threat to the state. For the most part, as meth has become more widespread, cocaine use has decreased.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, get help now. Use our rehab search to find a drug rehab in Oklahoma.

Sources:

  1. Bryan, M. (n.d.). ‘Price and demand’: Meth, heroin seizures up on I-40 corridor. Retrieved from https://www.swtimes.com/news/20191020/price-and-demand-meth-heroin-seizures-up-on-i-40-corridor
  2. Dulaney, J. (2019, December 10). Busted: Meth and heroin ring ran from Oklahoma prisons to Mexico. Retrieved from https://oklahoman.com/article/5649425/busted-meth-and-heroin-ring-ran-from-oklahoma-prisons-to-mexico
  3. Duran, D. (n.d.). Tulsa man charged with murder in woman’s heroin overdose death. Retrieved from https://www.newson6.com/story/41337403/tulsa-man-charged-with-murder-in-womans-heroin-overdose-death
  4. Horn, C. (2019, August 2). Officials seeing increase in meth being brought into Oklahoma. Retrieved from https://kfor.com/2019/08/02/officials-seeing-increase-in-meth-being-brought-into-oklahoma/
  5. Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. (n.d.). Oklahoma drug threat assessment. Retrieved from https://www.ok.gov/obndd/documents/Oklahoma%20Drug%20Threat%20Assessment%202018%20FINAL.pdf
  6. Wilkinson, J. (2020, January 2). Oklahoma man on meth steals car from porn video store with goat and guy inside, drives through 3 states, leads cops on low-speed chase. Retrieved from https://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ny-carjacking-meth-goat-adult-video-store-missouri-oklahoma-20200102-d4bgr5b6tvdfvcpf4r7pfse6nm-story.html

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