The largest syphilis outbreak in recent years isn’t simply due to unsafe sex, it’s due to rampant drug abuse, Oklahoma health officials say. Nearly 80 residents of the state have been infected with the STI during the last few months.
Officials say the syphilis is spreading as a result of a variety of unsafe drug related practices, including:
- Sharing of contaminated needles
- Sharing of other contaminated drug supplies and paraphernalia
- Having multiple sex partners
- Having unprotected sex with drug users
- Exchanging sex for money or drugs
Public health officials in Oklahoma are saying that much of the new syphilis outbreak may be primarily related to increasing rates of meth and heroin abuse. That comes as no surprise to addiction researchers, considering the fact that a record number of individuals died from meth overdoses in the state last year.
The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control recently released statistics indicating that more than 950 people died from drug overdoses in 2016, significantly above the 862 deaths recorded in the previous year. Of those overdose deaths, nearly 330 were associated with the abuse of methamphetamines, rising significantly from the 271 meth related deaths recorded in 2015.
To Protect Against STIs, Individuals are Warned to Avoid Street Drugs and Sex with Unknown or Multiple Partners
Officials believe that if nothing is done to combat the meth and heroin addiction epidemic in Oklahoma, the state’s syphilis epidemic is likely only to worsen in the coming months and years. Positive changes that could come to the state would include a greater amount of effective drug education, better low-cost treatment options for residents, greater accessibility to condoms and other safe sex resources, among a variety of other potential solutions.
America’s drug epidemic has affected so many lives in so many ways. Unfortunately, dangerous diseases are only making this epidemic more deadly for the millions of Americans who are affected by addiction.
At Get Treatment, we’re passionate about helping addicts and their families find the care they need to live healthy, sober, and fulfilling lives. Our network of accredited, high-quality drug treatment centers each provide individualized care to patients at every stage of the rehabilitation process. If you are in need of a heroin addiction treatment program or a meth drug rehab, give us a call today. We will be able to help you find the rehab program that’s right for you.
If you are looking for treatment in Oklahoma be sure to visit our Oklahoma addiction treatment centers resource page.