Opioid overdose deaths and addiction a growing problem in Oklahoma

Opioid overdose deaths and addiction a growing problem in Oklahoma

Opioid overdose deaths and addiction a growing problem in Oklahoma

To free the nation from the tightening grip of the devastating opioid crisis, the United States is striving hard by adopting and implementing several policies and measures in various states basis their need and requirement. In the recent years, Oklahoma that has been hit hard by this epidemic is right there at the top when it comes to drug-related deaths in the country. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 813 drug-related overdose deaths were reported in Oklahoma in 2016, and out of this, 55 percent involved opioids.

The Norman Police Department (NPD) says they regularly get reports of opioid abuse. “Usually there’s about one or two where people are abusing their prescription medications or doing heroin at their house,” said Lt. Gary Hopcus, an NPD enforcement officer.

According to Brittni McGill, interim co-chief nursing officer at Norman Regional Hospital, Oklahoma, the rise of the menace can be traced back to a practice of the yesteryears wherein, hospitals and healthcare facilities were rated on the basis of how well they treated their patients. This evaluation parameter made it necessary for the hospitals to achieve maximum patient satisfaction, which most of the times meant prescribing pain medications. It was a crisis very much in the making as these potent painkillers would often end up in the pockets of anti-social elements and drug peddlers. Another reason that can be attributed to the sale of prescription drugs is the high rate of occupational injuries and fatalities in the state.

Also, adding further to the misery are cases of doctor shopping, prescription fraud and hospital theft. As per the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in 2015, roughly 102 opioid prescriptions were written per 100 persons in Oklahoma, when the national rate in the same year stood at 70 prescriptions per 100 persons. Brad Foster, Norman Regional Hospital’s director of pharmacy services, said Oklahoma was far ahead of other states when it came to prescription of opioids. “We were like the fourth-highest for prescribing opioids one year,” Foster said.

The opioid crisis is one battle the country has been fighting for decades now. In spite of the federal authorities and various organizations taking effective measures to curb its prevalence, the crisis seems to be far from over. A worrying trend that has emerged in the recent times is the increase in the number of teenagers and young adults getting involved in opioid abuse.

According to the NIDA, more than 115 people in the country succumb to opioid overdose everyday. It has also been reported that 21 to 29 per cent of the patients who are prescribed opioids for acute pain often end up misusing them. What is more scary is the fact that 4 to 6 per cent of all people who abuse prescription opioids transition to heroin at a later stage.

Recovering from opioid crisis

The current plight of Oklahoma is mirroring a national problem. Although the hospitals and authorities of the state are working hard to create a safe environment for the patients by introducing effective alternatives to opioid use, this alone will not help in fixing the problem. The gravity of the situation demands that mental health care providers give a renewed emphasis to the rehabilitation process of people who are not only battling with addiction but also suffering from mental illness.

If you or loved one is suffering from opioid addiction or have experienced symptoms of prescription abuse, you should immediately seek professional assistance. Call at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 623-3847 or chat online with our experts to know about the best prescription drug addiction treatment available near you. Our certified representatives can help you get in touch with the nearest prescription drug rehab.

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