While synthetic opiates like fentanyl and carfentanil may be to blame for a vast increase in drug overdose deaths throughout the U.S., they’re far from the only deadly drugs being circulated through communities around the country. In particular, the abuse of methamphetamines is resulting in serious consequences in many areas, but none seems to be as seriously affected as the state of Oklahoma.
Much of the meth abused by addicts in Oklahoma originates south of the border, where criminal gangs and drug cartels manufacture it and smuggle it across the border and into the United States. In 2015, meth contributed to over 270 deaths in the state, a more than 150% jump since 2011, when a little over 100 meth-related deaths were recorded in Oklahoma. This increase means that meth is now at least partially responsible for nearly one third of Oklahoma’s 862 fatal drug overdoses that were recorded in 2015.
In approximately 70% of these deadly overdoses, prescription medications, often opioid painkillers, were involved, while the remaining 30% consisted of overdoses involving street drugs. In many cases, meth users may also be legally or illegally taking prescription opioids and other kinds of addictive pharmaceutical drugs.
In order to combat the increase in prescription drug-related deaths in recent years, Oklahoma has taken several constructive steps, including increasing education and implementing greater use of the Prescription Monitoring Program, which allows doctors to see if their patients are getting potentially addictive medicines like Oxycontin and vicodin from multiple doctors. Oklahoma officials also believe that greater awareness and an increase in training events and medical conferences has led to more careful doctors who can now more easily detect, prevent, and help treat addiction to prescription drugs.
Despite the progress that the medical community and government officials have made regarding prescription drugs in Oklahoma, heroin use seems to be only increasing across the state. Heroin overdose deaths, formerly dwarfed by meth deaths in the state, have nearly tripled in the five years between 2011 and 2015.
Only 12 heroin overdose deaths were reported in 2012, while 31 were reported in 2015. Experts say is the fault of Mexican drug cartels that have flooded the state with new supplies of the illicit drug.
Prescription benzodiazepines may also be contributing to many overdoses, with statistics showing that drugs like Xanax and Valium contributed to nearly 200 deaths in 2015. While these drugs, designed to combat anxiety, don’t often cause death on their own, they can easily become deadly when combined with other drugs like opiate painkillers.
Drugs like meth don’t only harm the user’s mind, they also affect a user’s body in a variety of negative ways. While meth can be deadly on it’s own, it’s even more dangerous when combined with other drugs, like heroin and black market fentanyl, as well as prescription opiates and benzodiazepines.
These risks and the permanent damage drugs can cause to an addict are just a few of the reasons why anyone with a meth abuse problem should seek professional treatment immediately.
At Get Treatment, it’s our mission to help addicts and their families get the treatment they need to fight the disease of addiction. Our top-rated and accredited addiction treatment centers each create individualized treatment plans for every patient. Meth and heroin addiction treatment programs are designed to help guide each patient through the entire recovery process, from the first stages of a medically supervised detox to long-term aftercare arrangements. If you or someone you love needs meth addiction treatment or heroin drug rehab program, now is the time to call Get Treatment for a free and confidential assessment and insurance verification.