Oklahoma’s Issue With Overdoses
Oftentimes when drug overdoses occur, they may involve prescription opioids. In Oklahoma, about 85 percent of overdoses involve prescription opioids, resulting in more deaths than by illicit drugs. The issue with prescription might be that people do not know the risks involved and how addictive they can be. Some people might start taking them for pain relief and end up with a dependency on them after using them too long. For this reason, people might take the wrong dosage of the prescribed drug which can lead to an overdose. If you have a drug dependency, help is out there waiting for you. Please call 405-583-4309 to get more information.
Overdose and Drug Information
- Oklahoma’s opioid-related overdose deaths amounted to 43 percent in 2019. This totaled to more than 308 fatalities in 2018.
- Included in this estimation, about 84 deaths by synthetic opioids and 79 from heroin.
- The U.S. average for prescription written by providers was at 51.4 for every 100 people in 2018, while in Oklahoma the number was at 79.1 for every 100.
- Nearly 1,000 Oklahomans die from drug overdoses each year for the last decade.
Overdose Deaths and Its Past in Oklahoma
In 2018, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 67,367 people died from a drug overdose in the U.S. The opioid crisis is a massive issue in Oklahoma, like in the rest of the country. When pharmaceutical companies began supplying prescription drugs in early 1990, they assured medical providers of the drug’s safety. After many overdose deaths, providers later discovered that the drugs were actually dangerous and very addictive. From 2002 to 2013, heroin-related overdose deaths saw a steep increase of 286 percent. About 80 percent of people who use heroin admitted to having misused prescription opioids before moving on to heroin.
In the past, Oklahoma has worked on various efforts to improve the issue. The state has placed restrictions on opioid prescriptions to lower the drug’s supply. Although, deaths involving methamphetamine and heroin increased during this time. From 2017 to 2018, the number of prescription opioid-related overdose deaths decreased from 251 to 172, while deaths from heroin or synthetic opioids remained steady. Medicaid also attempts to help the issue by providing substance abuse treatment for people who cannot afford it.
The Current Impact of Overdose Deaths
Drug and alcohol abuse is a big issue all around the world, and sadly they take many lives. For various reasons drug overdose deaths may occur at any time, whether you take them once or numerous times. While the drugs related to overdoses vary, a great number of deaths come from opioid use. In 2017, more than 17,000 overdose deaths were caused by prescription opioids in the U.S. In the next year in Oklahoma, about 308 overdose deaths occur with 172 coming from prescription drugs. It is important to try all we can to educate ourselves and others on this issue and find ways to help people around us.
The Effects of Overdoses on Individuals
Not everyone who overdoses intentionally misuses or seeks out drugs for non-medical use. Some people may get prescribed painkillers for pain and without knowing, take the wrong dosage. When the drug is too much for the person’s body and they can not tolerate the toxic effects, it may cause an overdose. The drug may increase the person’s blood pressure and heart rate or even subdue their breathing. People may have long-term effects from overdoses that include brain damage, cardiovascular issues, and other harsh conditions.
Effects Preventing Treatment Seeking
A few common feelings towards admitting you have an issue might be shame, fear, distrust, and hopelessness. These feelings and others may prevent the person from seeking help or treatment. People may also continue living functioning lives which might not make them aware of the issue. In regards to prescription drugs, since they come from a doctor or medical provider, they may not know their dependency on the drug is wrong. Some people may also be unable to afford addiction treatment, so they prefer not to seek it. Others may live too far away from a treatment center and not have access to it. A solution may exist for every reason you may have to not seek help, but an overdose death can not be reversed.
Possible Solutions to Overdose Deaths
Although there is not one sure solution to this issue, there are a few things people can do to prevent it. A great solution would be to educate people on drugs and everything that comes with using them. It might help to know the risks and consequences surrounding drugs, along with methods and information to treat it. People may not know what to do when they witness a possible overdose, it is best to call 911 or a medical provider immediately. While a great way to avoid overdoses and deaths would be to not use drugs at all, unfortunately, it may not be so easy. Overdoses can happen at any time and when least expected, so it is better to be prepared.
Signs of an overdose include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Trouble breathing
- Choking or gurgling sounds coming from their throat
- Rapid heartbeat
- Dilated pupils
- Blue lips or fingers
- Nausea or vomiting
Overcoming Overdose Deaths in Oklahoma
As the 25th largest state in the U.S., it may explain some of the substance abuse issues in Oklahoma. It suffers from high rates of overdose deaths involving opioids and strives to create efforts that can improve the issue. Many people may take different types of drugs and they may not all obtain them illegally. Some may receive a prescribed opioid and accidentally or intentionally misuse it, which can lead to an overdose. Oklahoma has tried restricting prescription opioid but that may have caused people to turn to harsher drugs. Those who cannot afford healthcare may qualify to receive Medicaid. If needed, treatment is possible and attainable.
While some people might think deaths from overdose are unavoidable, there are many things you can do to help save someone’s life. For example, if you notice the signs, such as dilated pupils vomiting, shallow breathing, and others, you can call 911 right away. If someone around you shows signs of substance abuse, help them get treated and that can make a huge difference. For more information please call 405-583-4309 or check out our Treatment Programs.