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Oklahoma’s Opioid Crisis 


The opioid crisis is a big issue all throughout the country, especially in the state of Oklahoma. Unfortunately, in 2018, approximately 43 of individuals residing in Oklahoma died due to opioid overdose. When thinking about drug addiction, you might think of the most common illegal ones, but not all of them are exactly obtained illegally. Opioids come in different forms such as heroin, painkillers, and other synthetic opioids. They can be more accessible since the medical provider can prescribe them. Not all people know how addictive prescribed opioids can be, some may become dependent on them without even realizing it. If you are struggling with addiction and need help finding treatment, reach out to us at 405-583-4309.

Opioid Crisis and Its History in Oklahoma

When opioids first started to be prescribed around early 1990, many did not know the impact it would bring to people in the U.S. In fact, pharmaceutical companies worked to ensure the safety of these prescription drugs to the medical community. They claimed that patients could not become addicted to opioids. This allowed these companies to massively distribute these drugs. Unfortunately, once overdoses started to occur all over the country, people discovered the truth about these drugs. Although it was too late since the first wave of this crisis was already well on its way. 

Opioids were originally used as a pain reliever for cancer patients but after the first wave, pharmaceutical companies started to promote them for non-cancer use. The number of patients using opioids for non-cancer pain amounted to about 86 percent by 1999. The second wave occurred in 2010, which brought efforts to make these prescribed opioids harder to get. Between the years of 2002 and 2013, an increase of 286 percent of heroin-related overdoses occurred. From 2017 to 2018, Oklahoma saw a slight decrease in deaths from 251 to 172. 

Possible Solutions to Opioid Crisis

While both prescribed and illegal drugs can surround us and our loved ones each day, it is crucial to work on preventing their effects. Children might get exposed to addictive substances at a young age which might also lead them to use these substances. To help prevent this, children should get educated on the topic of drugs and alcohol. Addiction and substance education can benefit people of all ages as well. It is important to understand the issue to work on not only preventing it but trying to solve the nationwide crisis. Opioids prescribed should be limited to lessen its availability to the public. People should also make sure to follow medical providers’ instruction on pain reliever use, to avoid misusing them. Every individual can help make a difference in this crisis, by getting help and treatment for themselves. 

The Effect of the Opioid Crisis

As mentioned before, opioids can be prescribed by medical providers for numerous reasons. They can be taken for something as simple as back pain but when abused it can come with high consequences. When providers first started to prescribe opioids, they were believed to be safe and not addictive to patients. Since then, it has been become a huge issue, proving to actually be extremely addictive. Long-term use of opioids can cause respiratory issues and even damage to the brain. People can experience issues with their brain functioning correctly and impair their decision-making abilities. In addition, opioids can affect people’s digestive tract after long-term use, which can cause constipation and later lead to other gastrointestinal problems. 

Reasons Preventing People From Treatment 

People who use prescribed drugs may not always know or understand its effect. Some people may take it for pain relief and later develop a dependency and not know they have an issue. If the person does not know they have an issue or addiction, it can prevent them from seeking treatment. Those who do notice the issue might also feel worried, shameful, or scared to ask for help. Depending on where you live, sometimes it might be hard to find the right treatment nearby. Some cities may have limited options in treatments and services preventing people from treatment. Other issues can include healthcare or pay for the needed treatment, although options exist to help with that.

How to Overcome the Opioid Crisis in Oklahoma

Unlike illegal drugs, opioids can be obtained with a prescription from a medical provider. Some people may unknowingly become addicted to these drugs and some may even find out too late. Although, if you do notice signs of addiction within yourself or someone else, please seek help immediately. Some common types of opioids are oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and methadone. When prescribed these drugs for pain or other reasons, it is important to only use when needed and for a short amount of time. 

Oklahoma suffers from high amounts of opioid-related overdosedue to the crisis and continues to work on improving its efforts to combat the issue. The state has created restrictions on opioid prescriptions to reduce its supply and availability. The U.S. federal healthcare, Medicaid, aims to provide substance abuse treatment to people who do not have the means for it.  With so many addictive substances harming people of all ages it is so significant to get educated on the topic to help prevent and eliminate the issue.

There Is Hope For Recovery 

If you or a loved one struggle with substance addiction, please remember the right treatment option is out there for you. You can reach out to us at 405-583-4309 or visit our Treatment Programs for more information. 

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