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Oklahoma Drug Addiction

What Is Street Drug Abuse?

Illicit or street (illegal) drugs are those that are so harmful to the user they are not legal for use in any capacity. Examples of illegal drugs that are commonly abused in Oklahoma include heroin, marijuana, cocaine and crystal methamphetamine. Each of these drugs has unique signs and symptoms and can lead to addiction so powerful that a person loses control of his or her life in the pursuit of obtaining each drug. Illicit abuse of drugs such as heroin, cocaine and crystal meth have also proven deadly in Oklahoma.

If you or a loved one suffers from illicit drug abuse, help is available and vital to a person wishing to live a healthy, happy life free from drug abuse. If you or a loved one suffer from Oklahoma drug addiction, you aren’t alone, but you are part of a group of people who have a high potential for deadly side effects. Seeking help as quickly as possible can set you on the road to recovery.


Oklahoma Drug Addiction and Abuse Statistics

According to NewsOk, drug overdoses kill more people in Oklahoma than motor vehicle accidents do. Drug overdoses (including those from illegal drugs and prescription drugs) kill an average of two people per day in the state. The total number of drug overdoses in Oklahoma was 739 in 2010. Of those overdose victims, 99 had crystal meth present in their systems while 48 had cocaine present in their systems.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that 8.94 percent of Oklahomans have used illicit drugs in the past month – that’s roughly 261,684 Oklahomans.

The primary drug of choice for Oklahomans to abuse is marijuana, according to the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, reporting with their 2012 statistics. An estimated 21 percent of those who seek drug treatment do so for marijuana. This is followed by treatment for methamphetamines. An estimated 19 percent of Oklahomans seek treatment for meth abuse, which is an estimated 3,085 people. Cocaine is the next most-abused illegal drug, accounting for 5 percent of inpatient treatment admissions in the state.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Oklahoma ranks eighth in the nation for states with people who needed treatments for illegal drug abuse, but had not yet received it.

Meth has continued to be a problem in Oklahoma, with the number of meth lab seizures rapidly rising to combat the problem. According to the El Paso Intelligence Center’s National Seizure System, the number of meth lab seizures in the state went from 93 in 2007 to 356 in 2009.


Commonly Abused Drugs

Cocaine, heroin and crystal meth are three of the most-abused drugs in Oklahoma. Below includes information on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of drug abuse for each of these drugs.



Cocaine is an illegal drug that is sold as a white powder. Derived from the coca plant in South America, the drug creates effects that include euphoria, energy and talkativeness. However, its effects are short-lived, which can cause a person to try and use more and more of the drug to achieve the same high.

Signs and Symptoms of Abuse: Cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant, which means it creates sped-up reactions in the body. Examples include rapid heart rate, high blood pressure,

Categories of Prescription Drugs: Cocaine is a schedule II drug as identified by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. This means that in small amounts, the drug has the potential for medical treatment, yet has a high potential for abuse.

Effects on the Brain: Cocaine stimulates the central nervous system by increasing the amount of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with reward. Examples of other times it is released include a “runner’s high” or after a person eats a decadent food, such as chocolate. However, the euphoria from using cocaine is numerous times more significant than these experiences.

Health Risks: Cocaine can cause a number of harmful health effects to the body, the most concerning of which is death due to heart attack, cardiac arrest and/or stroke. Because cocaine increases blood pressure, raises heart rate and increases body temperature, it can be responsible a number of cardiac-related complications. Also, if a person injects cocaine, he or she is at greater risk for injection-related complications, such as hepatitis C, HIV and bloodborne pathogens.

Treatment Options: The FDA hasn’t approved medications for treatments for cocaine. However, behavioral health treatments are available, such as for counseling and group therapy.



Heroin is an opioid drug that acts on pain-relieving receptors in the brain. This highly addictive drug is sold as a white, brown or black powder and may be snorted or injected. Nearly one-fourth of people who use heroin become addicted to it, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Signs and Symptoms of Abuse: Signs a person may be abusing the drug include flushed skin, heavy extremities, trouble thinking clearly, dry mouth and acting overall slowed-down in general.

Categories of Prescription Drugs: Heroin is a Schedule I drug that is illegal to use and has no known medical purpose.

Effects on the Brain: Heroin works on the brain’s opioid receptors, which then affects a person’s breathing and thinking. Drug dealers also mix heroin with other drugs or chemical substances, which can lead to greater harm.

Health Risks: Heroin abuse can be deadly due to overdose that causes respiratory arrest. Those who inject the drug are also at risk for blood-borne diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis.

Treatment Options: Medications and behavioral health treatments are available for heroin abusers. Examples of these medications include Suboxone and methadone.


Crystal Meth

Crystal methamphetamine or crystal meth is an illegal drug that acts as a stimulant much like cocaine yet is longer-lasting. Other words for meth are ice and glass.

Signs and Symptoms of Abuse: Symptoms of meth abuse include mood swings, paranoia, skin sores, dry mouth, high body temperature and even violent episodes.

Categories of Drugs: Methamphetamine is a Schedule II drug, meaning it has some medical uses on in very small amounts. However, it is rarely prescribed.

Effects on the Brain: Like cocaine, meth causes a rush of dopamine to the brain.

Health Risks: Crystal meth is a deadly drug that can cause anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood changes and violent behavior. Users can also experience side effects related to intravenous drug abuse, such as HIV and/or AIDS.

Treatment Options: According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the best treatments for meth addiction are behavioral ones. These include cognitive-behavioral therapy.


Take Steps to Better Your Life

If you suffer from an addiction to street drugs, help is available at an Oklahoma rehabilitation facility. Seeking rehabilitation treatment can help you turn your life around. Start on the path to a healthy and sober life.