Oklahoma may seem like a sleepy agricultural state, but you’d be wrong to think that’s all it has to offer. Oklahoma is currently booming with new industries being developed and new businesses starting up all the time. Even when the state seems to be in a deadlock with its ornery neighbor to the south, Oklahoma still has plenty of features to hold its own.

It’s too bad then for all concerned that Oklahoma has a growing drug problem just as those of many other states. Oklahoma may have inspired a famous musical of the same name, but no one can feel too happy (including “sweeping down the plain”) when drugs are an ever-present reminder of the state of their home.   

Oklahoma Drug Facts 

Here are several drug use facts about the state of drug use in Oklahoma:

  • Oklahoma is one of the top ten states for past-month drug use among teenagers 12 or older. It’s also a top ten leader in the number of 18 to 25-year-olds using prescription medicines in an “off-label” manner in order to get high.
  • 9.66 percent of Oklahoma residents admit to using illegal drugs in the past month, while the national average is lower at only 8.82 percent of Americans in general.
  • The number of Oklahoma residents that die as a direct result of their drug use is far higher than the national average. In Oklahoma, 20.8 out of every 100,000 people die as a direct result of using drugs, whereas the national average is 12.8 people per 100,000.

The Drug Problem in Oklahoma

Statistic wise Oklahoma is a pretty average state.  It is 28th out of 50 states in population with less than 4 million residents, and in terms of overall drug use it falls right in the middle with about 8% of its adults having used illicit drugs in the past month.  Drug use statistics are compiled through a survey conducted by The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, and are published by SAMHSA on their website.

By individual drug Oklahoma ranks slightly lower than average in marijuana and cocaine use, but is in the highest range of prescription pain reliever nonmedical use with nearly 7% of adults over the age of 12 having used these pills in the month prior to the survey.  Two other categories where Oklahoma leads the pack are drug overdose deaths and methamphetamine production.

Oklahoma is 5th in the nation for deaths from drug overdose, which the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN) attributes to the rise of prescription pill abuse.  Since 2002 the number of overdose deaths has quadrupled with nearly 840 Oklahoma residents dying in 2012.  The OBN says that 8 out of 10 of all drug overdose deaths in Oklahoma involve at least one prescription drug.

Oklahoma is in the top 6 of states for methamphetamine production with 678 meth lab incidents documented in 2012.  A meth lab incident is described as an actual lab, cleanup site, or finding implements used in meth production.  Oklahoma’s 678 incidents make up more than 5% of the nation’s total 11,210 meth manufacturing incidents.

In October of 2013 Oklahoma Sheriff’s deputies from Canadian County made one of the largest methamphetamine busts in the US ever.  After searching an SUV, which was being hauled by a semi, officers came across more than 40 pounds of meth with an estimated street value of $2.3 million.

The most common drugs of abuse in Oklahoma are:

  • Marijuana is the most popular drug in the state. It currently sits right above meth in terms of the number of people being admitted to drug treatment centers for it.
  • Heroin is hardly used in the state and is responsible for only a couple of percentage points in terms of overall treatment admission rates.
  • Cocaine and crack are declining in usage and in treatment admissions. They now account for less than all other drugs in the state but heroin, at about 7 percent of the total.
  • Meth is the second most used drug in the state. It had dipped for several years before coming back up into more general use again in 2008.
  • Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing category of abuse in the state. These drugs are now responsible for just over 15 percent of all drug treatment admissions.

Resources & Sources for Oklahoma Drug Treatment 

WhiteHouse.gov: Oklahoma Drug Control Update – http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/state_profile_-_new_york_0.pdf

OKC Fox News: Oklahoma 5th Problem With Prescription Drug Abuse – http://www.okcfox.com/story/23798790/oklahoma-5th-problem-with-prescription-drug-abuse

KFOR.com – Canadian County Deputies Make 2.3 Million Meth Bust in Oklahoma – http://kfor.com/2013/10/17/canadian-county-deputies-make-2-3-million-meth-bust-in-oklahoma-city/