Drug And Alcohol Addiction In Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tulsa is the second-largest city in Oklahoma and home to 403,505 residents, with another 1.1 million people in the greater-metropolitan area. Throughout most of the 20th century, the city was known as the “Oil Capital of the World”. The presence of the nearby capital, Oklahoma City, as well as the major roadways crossing the state, contribute to much of Tulsa’s struggle with illicit substance abuse and crime.While other states suffer from the effects of the Opioid Epidemic (including Heroin addiction and abuse), Tulsa residents are more likely to abuse Methamphetamine than most Opioids. In fact, Meth-related fatalities increased by more than 265% between 2010 and 2016.
While there are limited treatment facilities in the immediate area, there are many in surrounding regions that specialize in various forms of addiction and abuse rehab and recovery services.
Tulsa’s Struggle With Meth
Listed as “Tulsa’s Drug of Choice,” 1 of 3 people seeking treatment in the area is addicted to Meth. In 2018, the most recent year for which data is available, 339 people suffered a Meth-induced death, more than doubling the number over the past 4 years. Many officials attribute the drug usage to early childhood trauma, sexual abuse, and other factors that contribute to depression and anxiety which can lead to experimentation with “self-medicating.” A worrisome thought considering the heightened levels of mental strife amidst the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Previously, Meth production in the rural state was high. Then, crackdowns on the sale of Pseudoephedrine (i.e. cold medicine like Sudafed) greatly reduced the number of clandestine drug labs. However, Mexican cartels have replaced the supply with purer “Mexican ice.” The presence of Meth has been linked to increased crime and violent behavior.
Alcohol Abuse And Drunk Driving In Tulsa
Though the effects of Meth abuse draw more media attention, alcohol is more widely used among Tulsa residents. While the number of alcohol-related deaths has fallen in other parts of the country, Oklahoma still experiences high rates of drunk driving, alcohol poisoning, and death in comparison. By 2016, Oklahoma ranked last in improvement to impaired driving deaths. Moreover, Oklahoma ranks third in underage drinking; 17% of all alcohol in the state is consumed by residents under 21.
It is a sad fact that as a state, we have far too many impaired driving crashes. Over the last five years, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities account for 28 percent of total fatal crashes. On average, 194 Oklahomans have been killed each year, for the last five years. That’s 16 Oklahomans every month.
Substance Abuse Statistics For Tulsa
14.3% of Tulsa County residents reported binge drinking (4 or more for women, 5 or more for men in a 2 hour timespan) within the previous 30 days.
The DUI rate in Tulsa is 20% higher than the state average.
213 people died as a result of drunk driving between 2007 and 2015 in Tulsa alone.
Addiction Treatment In Tulsa
Oklahomans are receiving treatment for a number of addictions and co-occurring disorders. In 2016, about 720 people were treated for Meth addiction; 2,170 were treated for prescription Opioid addictions. 30% of treatment admissions listed alcohol as their primary addiction.
Subsequently, Oklahoma has increased its efforts in the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, before its negative consequences can impact society. Courts Raising Awareness of Students in High School (CRASH), funded in part by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services and participant fees, educates students about the dangers of drunk driving. Drug Courts and Veterans’ Treatment Courts also provide residents with addiction treatment services and alternatives to jail time. These programs have been proven to reduce rates of recidivism and alcohol-related crimes. More recently, various organizations have joined together with The Healthy Minds Initiative (a team of mental health and policy professionals) to create The Treatment Continuum, a comprehensive approach to fighting—and sustaining—the city’s addiction problem.
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Traveling From Tulsa For Rehab
To escape local, everyday stressors, some may choose to travel for drug or alcohol rehab. Detoxing in a safe space, removed from substance abuse triggers, can increase a person’s likelihood for finishing recovery programs. Traveling for rehab allows an individual to focus on healing and rehabilitating themselves. Additionally, traveling out-of-state increases your options for rehab facilities and amenities.
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Destiny Bezrutczyk is a Digital Content Writer from west Iowa. She earned a Bachelor’s in English Language and Literature from Texas Tech University. After working as a freelance script and blog writer, she began writing content for tech startups. Maintaining a passion for words, she took on a variety of projects where her writing could help people (especially those battling mental health and substance use disorders).
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- Community Service Council of Tulsa. (2017). CRASHs Court. Retrieved on August 13, 2018 at https://csctulsa.org/crashs-court/
- KRMG. (2018). Oklahoma Has High Rate of Fatal DUI Wrecks. Retrieved on August 10, 2018 at https://www.krmg.com/news/local/oklahoma-has-high-rate-fatal-dui-wrecks/9IOKkrjukZWjmG3cr6PoOO/
- News OK. (2016). While DUI fatalities are declining, Memorial Day proves deadly on Oklahoma roads. Retrieved on August 13, 2018 at https://newsok.com/article/5499371/while-dui-fatalities-are-declining-memorial-day-proves-deadly-on-oklahoma-roads
- News OK. (2017). Oklahoma deaths from opioid, meth and heroin increase. Retrieved on August 9, 2018 at https://newsok.com/article/5558012/oklahoma-deaths-from-opioid-meth-and-heroin-increase
- Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. (2016). Alcohol: Its Impact on Our State. Retrieved on August 10, 2018 at https://ok.gov/odmhsas/documents/Tulsa%20Alcohol%20Summit-TW%202016.pdf
- Tulsa World. (2021). Tulsa Launches New 'Comprehensive' Effort to Fight Meth Addiction. Retrieved on January 11, 202 from: https://tulsaworld.com/news/local/tulsa-launches-new-comprehensive-effort-to-fight-meth-addiction/article_8b5bcf5a-3e2d-11eb-b94f-bfefd10a3c1b.html