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Oklahoma Drug Abuse

Addiction costs Oklahoma residents $7.2 billion a year, this is enough money to create 273,000 median-wage jobs or to build nine skyscrapers like Oklahoma City's Devon tower. The problem is spreading through every stratum of society: poor, middle-class, wealthy; rural, urban and suburban. Drug abusers are most likely to get incarcerated sooner than later, in fact, 44% of inmates are incarcerated for drug possessions, driving while intoxicated and for being under the influence of a controlled substance. A study by the states corrections department determined that if Rehabilitation treatment was completed by the addict it reduced their chance of returning to jail/prison by 20%. On any given day, 600 to 900 Oklahomans are on a waiting list for a bed in a publicly funded residential substance abuse center. About 160,000 Oklahomans need treatment for drug and alcohol addiction.

Oklahoma tops all states when it comes to prescription painkiller abuse. Nearly half of Oklahoma's population aged 12 and above use some form of mind-altering substances at least occasionally. Overdoses of prescription painkillers, anxiety drugs kill more Oklahomans more than car crashes. Four of five victims overdose on widely prescribed medications found in tens of thousands of Oklahoma households. The statistics help explain why Oklahoma was ranked the No. 1 state in the nation in prescription painkiller abuse last year. The deaths of drug abuse are not just hard-core addicts who buy meth, crack and heroin from the streets. 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. They're suburban kids passing around pills they find in their parents' medicine cabinets. They're veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who turn to narcotics to tame the demons of post-traumatic stress.

Oklahoma alone ranks number 8 among states in the percentage of the population age 26 and older who were in need of receiving treatment for drug use but had not received it. Among those age 12 and older, Oklahoma ranks 15th in the nation among states for those needing treatment for drug use but not receiving it. This is a serious problem Oklahoma is facing and there needs to be an end to it or light at the end of this nightmare. State funded treatment facilities are just not cutting it, they need long-term rehabilitation so they have the best shot of life. Addicts already have such low self-esteem so its important to get them to the correct treatment facility right away so that they have a chance at life.

There is one solution for the substance abuse issue in Oklahoma and that is Drug rehabilitation. Oklahomans exceeded the national average for misuse and abuse of painkillers by 232 percent- a 22 percent increase since 2004. For Oklahomans ages 25 to 64, unintentional poisoning is the leading cause of injury death. The majority of unintentional poisoning deaths result from the misuse of opiates (painkillers), closely followed by benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety medications). Drug rehabilitation is not an easy task for Oklahomans, especially state-funded drug rehabs because of the low bed space. There are over 160,000 citizens who need drug rehab and are unable to properly get the care that they need to overcome their drug addiction.

Illicit Drug Use in the Past Month among Persons Aged 12 or Older in Oklahoma, by Substate Region: Percentages, Annual Averages Based on 2010, 2011, and 2012 NSDUHs (Source: SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, National Survey on Drug Use and Health)

One in twelve Oklahoma residents abuses prescription drugs like hydrocodone and oxycodone.

Oklahoma State Government Agencies

Drug Abuse Facts

Drug Abuse Information

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