The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) conducts the National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) each year.
The most recent statistics specific to the use of drugs in Oklahoma come from the NSDUH conducted in 2012. In that year, Oklahoman respondents of the survey reported their primary drug of choice:
- 36% of respondents stated that alcohol was their primary drug of choice
- 21% mainly used marijuana
- 19% used methamphetamine predominantly
- 10% principally used opioids
- 5% used cocaine as their primary substance
- 5% were amphetamine users
Eight years on in 2020, circumstances have changed rapidly. Alcohol is still considered the most prevalent substance that’s abused in Oklahoma since it’s legal, more socially acceptable, and relatively affordable.
Substance use disorder takes a huge toll on society. Taxes get chewed up on prisons, business productivity falters, and families disintegrate.
“I stayed completely away from my family. Pretty much when you get in that world, you drop off.”
– Marsha Patten, an Oklahoman in recovery
For a thriving economy and vibrant community, you need engaged and healthy minds. Addiction and mental health problems are a growing burden on society.
Oklahoma has its fair share of drug and alcohol addiction.
Crystal methamphetamine is one of the most commonly abused drugs by Oklahomans. Meth comes in powdered form, and it’s smoked in a glass pipe with a bowl.
Meth is highly addictive as it provides a pleasurable rush. It wrecks lives and triggers the rapid downfall of most people who get involved with it.
People who become addicted to methamphetamine age prematurely, have disturbed sleep, experience irritability, and become aggressive.
In the long haul, meth causes:
- Brain damage
- Cardiovascular collapse
- Lung, kidney, and liver damage
- Memory loss
- Mood swings
Methamphetamine used to be more expensive and purer. It was previously manufactured on a small scale using cold and flu tablets containing pseudoephedrine, the main chemical of meth.
The opioid epidemic has distracted the authorities, and so drug cartels have capitalized on this by creating superlabs. The newer type of meth now sold on the streets is more potent and cheaper.
Many people who have lost their jobs in Oklahoma due to the ongoing pandemic are turning to drink to cope with stress. 18% of people with recent job losses are abusing alcohol due to money worries.
If not addressed, alcohol use disorder develops into a more serious problem and can cause grave health conditions such as:
- Memory loss
- Mental health problems
Sadly, synthetic opioids like fentanyl and carfentanyl are finding their way on the street.
Fentanyl is prescribed as a painkiller and is similar to anti-anxiety medication Xanax, but it’s also manufactured illicitly.
Fentanyl analogues are similar to fentanyl in molecular structure, but they are less easily detected by law enforcement agencies.
Synthetic opioids are highly dangerous. Even an amount as small as a grain of salt can kill someone. Carfentanyl is 10,000 times more potent as morphine.
As fentanyl is cheap, it’s often used to lace counterfeit prescription medicine, cocaine, amphetamine, heroin, and methamphetamine. Resultantly, many people take fentanyl without knowing their drugs contain it and die after overdosing.
The effects of the global pandemic could also explain why the number of people abusing prescription opioids is on the rise.
Deaths from prescription opioids decreased from 251 in 2017 to 172 in 2018. However, CDC data from March 2020 shows a 13.5% spike in deaths from overdose.
Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that comes from South America and is widely available in Oklahoma.
In the short term, cocaine produces an intense high as it triggers a powerful dopamine response. People who use cocaine experience improved mental alertness and energy.
Users either snort, ingest, smoke, or inject cocaine. When cocaine is snorted in the long-term, it can lead to serious health conditions such as nosebleeds, loss of smell, a continuously runny nose, and even decay of the septum.
Studies also show that cocaine use increases rates of HIV infection as people tend to engage in sexually risky behavior while under the influence. People who inject cocaine have a higher chance of HIV infection, too.
It’s possible to die from a cocaine overdose. Drug cartels and drug dealers mix fentanyl with cocaine to bulk it out and make it stronger, and this foul play is further increasing the rate of overdose deaths.
What To Do Next
As drug cartels continue to flood the drugs market with fentanyl, recreational drug users have no way of knowing if their drugs are laced with this lethal substance. This makes the abuse of drugs in Oklahoma even riskier than ever before.
Drug enforcement agencies try to crack down on labs and distributors. For every drug bust, though, another lab appears elsewhere.
The pandemic has destabilized many people in recovery leading to an increase in all types of drugs and alcohol.
Educating drug users about the dangers of using drugs is the only means of tackling the problem until radical policy reform is in place.
If you need help right now, pick up the phone today. Reach out to the friendly team at Landmark Recovery and we’ll help you get back on track even if the world around you seems chaotic. Call today at 405-896-8426.