Tulsa, Oklahoma Drugs and Treatment
Tulsa, Oklahoma has a large amount of drug-related arrests yearly, primarily when it comes to the possession and distribution of opiates, heroin and methamphetamine. Though on its surface that comment may imply an issue out of control, in fact both Tulsa and the state of Oklahoma have been proactive in terms of combating addiction issues with ongoing education, and a pivot on the part of many physicians when it comes to more prudently prescribing painkillers to their patients.
Oklahoma’s drug issues are influenced by its neighboring Texas, specifically, by the Texoma HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) strongholds in Texas that have among the highest percentage of illicit drug trafficking in the country. DTOs (Drug Trafficking Organizations) frequently distribute their wares from Texas and into Oklahoma, adding to the latter state’s illicit drug epidemic.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has a substantial presence in the Texoma region, as they do in Oklahoma, and they are supportive of federal efforts to help curb the Tulsa’s drug problems, and the problems of all other Oklahoma cities.
The largest issue, consistent with present statewide (and national) trends, is that the abuse of prescription opioids is not only a problem for those who use, but also with the children of those who use who steal the medication to sell on the street, or otherwise trade for pot or alcohol – preferred substances for their own personal usage.
Heroin, a synthetic opioid, is a major concern. Meth is a clear and present danger, as it’s been since the turn of the millennium, but treatment admissions for meth appear to be leveling off. Still, Tulsa’s abuse of methamphetamines are well above the national average. Cocaine use is also above the national average, according to many recent statistics, though the drug also appears to be leveling off in the area.
Caucasian and Mexican drug traffickers, many of whom produce their own meth, continue to take advantage of the myriad of Tulsa’s transportation systems.
Based in part on recent statistics and studies, our outlook for Tulsa, Oklahoma is this:
- Drug traffickers will continue to pivot and take advantage of the opioid epidemic;
- Stronger synthetic heroin will increase production;
- Opioid abuse will increase pending still-further efforts;
- Pot and Alcohol use will remain consistent, especially popular among young people;
- Cocaine will flatten in terms of treatment center admissions and fatalities related to abuse, but will remain readily-accessible;
- Methamphetamine, if it continues its incline, will do so in lessened numbers, as recent trends also show a flattening out of use and abuse statistics.
For yourself, your friends and/or your family, we advise that you continue to be aware of your community’s substance issues, and suggest that you join in your city’s efforts to curb drug abuse.
Awareness and communication, as ever, is imperative to any such effort.
ABOUT THE CITY
Tulsa is Oklahoma’s second-largest city, and the 47th most populous of all U.S. cities. In 2015, Tulsa’s population was estimated as 403,505, up 11,599 from the 2010 Census. 2017 numbers are estimated as approximately 407,000. The city is in the northeast of the state, and was once widely known for its oil industry, until a late 20th century economic downtown. Today, Tulsa is lauded for its economic footholds in the finance, energy, aviation, telecommunication and technology sectors.
The city is 196.8 square miles in total area, of which 4.2 square miles is water. Median income for a household with a family is just above $60,000, consistent with the national average.
Current racial makeup is the following: 63% Caucasian, 16% African American, 14% Hispanic or Latino of Any Race, 8% listed as “Other Races,” 5% Native American, 2% Asian, and the remainder identified as Pacific Islander and various mixes. Note that the percentages exceed 100% based on the various racial mixes.
Cultural institutions such as museums and theater are prevalent in the city’s downtown area, as are myriad examples of fine cuisine.
Tulsa shares a similar drug culture with much of the state. Pot and alcohol are most popular with young people, college-aged and below. Meth is immensely popular in the state, and it’s ice form – a particularly deadly mix – is especially popular in Tulsa with the older population as well as their children. Also for those older residents, prescription opiates are the city’s fastest-growing issue. Treatment admissions for cocaine are frequent. Heroin use is growing in conjunction with both usage in the rest of the state and also the mounting opioid epidemic, especially as misuse of painkillers fails, after time, to deliver its desired effect on the part of the user.
Any examination of Tulsa’s drug problem, however, should include statewide statistics for perspective.
STATEWIDE DRUG ISSUES
In 2016, according to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control, 952 state residents died from drug overdose, representing a substantial increase from 862 in 2015. Related statistics include the following: Methamphetamine contributed to, or was directly responsible for, 328 fatalities (more than any prescription opioid).
- Deaths directly related to heroin increased from 49 in 2016, from 31 mortalities in 2015.
- Oklahoma has the 11th highest rate of alcohol poisoning in the nation.
- An estimated 326,000 state residents depend on alcohol or illicit drugs, but only 7.6% of that number seek treatment.
- Methamphetamine is the single biggest drug problem in the state, per treatment admissions and verified fatalities. The drug class kills an average of one Oklahoman daily.
- The state’s above-average degree of mental illness has served to enable its addiction issues. As an unanticipated repercussion of its concentrated efforts to curb opioid abuse, Oklahoma has become a targeted state for ice, a particularly dangerous form of meth smuggled into the state by Mexican cartels, and produced in super-labs stationed along the border.
- The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) break down the state’s alcohol issue as follows: 159,000 are 21 years of age or older, and regularly binge drink. Over 30% of all substance abusers defined alcohol as their “drug of choice.”
- ODMHSAS says the state’s drug problem costs upwards of $7.2 billion per year.
- In 2017 more than half of the state’s drug overdose deaths were related, as either a primary or secondary cause, to prescription opioid abuse.
- Nearly 850 Oklahomans passed away in 2017 from drug overdoses (of any substance).
Unfortunately, Oklahoma exhibits many of the signs of smaller U.S. states, especially as it regards its drug issues.
TULSA CITYWIDE DRUG ISSUES
Opiates and heroin mirror national trends as the fastest-growing drug issues in the city, which on a wider scale are mirrored by the state itself.
Recent headlines include: Oklahoma Drug Users Turning from Pills to Heroin; State of Addiction: Oklahoma Ranked No. 1 State in Prescription Painkiller Abuse; Heroin Human Trafficking Suspects Arrested in Tulsa; Six Arrested in Major Heroin Bust in Tulsa; 12 People Arrested, $123,000 in Cash Found in Heroin Trafficking Investigation; FBI Arrests Four Men in Tulsa ‘Pizza Delivery’ Heroin Operation to Cap Two-Year Investigation; and ICE and Oklahoma-Based Law Enforcement Arrested 10 After Executing 9 Search Warrants Looking for Evidence of Heroin Smuggling and Distribution.
Tulsa drug laws define the “simple possession” of illegal narcotics as a misdemeanor. Trace amounts that can be considered as “simple possession” include meth, heroin, cocaine, and pot. If the intent is to distribute the drug – which would typically be in much larger quantities than the “trace amounts” as referenced above – nonetheless one is looking at an automatic felony.
Approximately 30% of the city’s residents are 65 or older. Prevalent within Tulsa are numerous assisted living facilities, senior living communities, and nursing homes. Deaths from misuse of prescription opiates, usually treated for pain, is strong in this demographic. Further, parents of many children use prescription opiates to cope with pain, or to further their addiction. For those who are unwilling or unable, for whatever the reason, to turn in their unused drugs, many children of these parents have taken to steal the medication to sell or trade on the street for their own preferred pot or alcohol.
Meth abuse is a major issue in Tulsa. The drugs are frequently produced by Mexican DTOs, or entrepreneurial Caucasians.
Treatment begins when one believes they have a problem, and they take action. Pre-intake is the process whereby a concerned user begins the process of seeking help. As a test, you may want to ask yourself the following questions:
- “How long have I been using?”
- “Do I believe I have a problem?”
- “Do I think others who know me believe I have a substance-related problem?”
- “Does it matter to me?”
- “Have others confronted me with questions related to substance abuse?”
- “Do I use alone, or in hiding?”
- “Have I ever substituted one drug for another, thinking one particular drug was the problem?”
- “Do I find the thought of running out of drugs scary?”
- “Have I ever been in a jail, a hospital, or a drug rehabilitation center because of any using in the past?”
- “Is this what I want with my life?”
- If you find your answers to the following questions alarming, we suggest that the time to seek help is the present.
If you do begin the process of looking for a treatment plan, your tomorrow may be exactly what you want it to be.
A brief disclaimer: As with any other self-diagnostic tool, questions such as these are exploratory only. You must speak to a trained and licensed professional for any true diagnosis. Still, answering these questions can be extremely useful, and insightful. Remember, if you are under the influence as you answer, you may not be the best arbiter of your responses. If, however, you can be truthful with your responses, the results of your subsequent efforts can be invaluable.
During the intake application process, you will be required to list your prescription medications and days and times taken (if “none,” you check “none”), an authorization of medical care, a list of allergies or other medical issues, and a waiver of responsibility. Some applications ask more. A physician or treatment center representative will then review your application for the proper steps, and treatment.
One of the greatest benefits of a well-thought treatment plan is that every day will bring a new step in your treatment, and each step will lead to another. During this process, you may well learn of the stringency and urgency of structure, especially if your problem is too large for outpatient therapy, and in-patient will be your next step. The structure you learn and the discipline you will attain will help you immensely during one of the advanced stages of your formal treatment process: the sober house.
Conversely, one of the more difficult aspects of the intake process is one of trust. We all know that a user does not always trust easily. If you fall into this category, we need to reinforce to you that your treatment team is there for you. They will spend the time working with you and for you. In as much as you can, speak to them openly. If you believe a given treatment as administered by a professional is disagreeable to you, you need to make that known to them.
We’ve spoken about the power of commitment on these pages before. There will be an element in your treatment of letting go of any defiance and trusting others. Trust usually comes in time.
As we said, intake is but a step in a larger process.
Detox addresses the physical hold of an addiction. The length of a detox program will vary based on several factors, including the nature of the addiction, and of the addict’s personality. Regarding the former, chemical dependency frequently occurs that must be medically handled, as your brain has become fully dependent on further use of the substance in order to function. This is a medical issue that will frequently require medication to handle.
During the early phases on detoxification, withdrawal will occur which can be a painful process. Your system will be cleaned of the drug, and your brain will learn to operate as it once did. Certain withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening, which punctuates the importance of full and systemic treatment.
Factors that can influence the longevity of the detox aspect of your treatment program include:
- Poly-drug abuse;
- Pre-existing medical or mental health conditions;
- Your level of dependence;
- Previous trauma;
- Environment (both that of your home life and the environment of your support system)
The concept and practice of detox is typically broken down into three distinct phases: Evaluation, Stabilization, and Transition to Inpatient Drug Rehabilitation.
INPATIENT TREATMENT SERVICES
Post-withdrawal, the process of your ongoing recovery can be either inpatient, or outpatient. Inpatient treatment is appropriate for more severe cases, and the generally more flexible outpatient treatment is geared towards those with a more moderate addiction (though addiction is still addiction) and a stronger support system in their home environment.
Inpatient treatment can either be a PHP (a partial hospitalization providing a highly-structured environment, with typically active treatment of 30 hours per week), the less-intensive IOP (intensive outpatient treatment plan, which requires up to three hours daily over 3-5 days, for a total of nine hours weekly; therapy is usually included, but the patient can live either at their own home or a halfway house during the process), or an RTC (residential).
Most inpatient therapies, regardless of option will last 5-10 days. They can last longer based on the severity of the problem, and the patient’s physical and mental fitness.
Among its services, a PHP will most frequently incorporate intensive one on one therapy in its treatment program. The reason for this is most PHP admissions are due to disturbances in behavior from the drug being abused, or for those who experience otherwise increased symptomatology. In a PHP, the patient is often isolated and of no risk to other patients.
PHPs and RTCs are highly-structured treatment options. PHPs are the most structured options of all. If you have little structure in your home environment, both of these invaluable choices will likely take some time getting used to. That said, the importance to your overall treatment plan cannot be understated.
Note: Substance use disorder treatment is listed as one of the 10 Most Essential Health Benefits of the Affordable Care Act, meaning that your care is covered if you have health insurance. If you do not have insurance, many treatment centers offer financial aid. Always ask when you speak to a treatment advisor if this is a concern, as inpatient treatment is more expensive than outpatient.
Learn more on Inpatient vs. Outpatient.
OUTPATIENT TREATMENT RESOURCES
Outpatient treatment is often preferred when one has substantial duties in their outside environment, such as school or family. In fact, family and friend group therapy is often included in this option, which is quite flexible in its scheduling. Outpatient treatment has proven to be very effective for those with underlying causes for their addiction, such as eating disorders, to grasp the root of their substance-related issues in a more relaxed setting among familiar support systems.
As an outpatient, you are not enmeshed in a structured environment, you live at home and you are not under constant supervision.
However, outpatient treatment is no less important or helpful than inpatient treatment. Though the scheduling of your appointments may be flexible, you still need to commit to the time. If you miss one appointment, you will likely miss another.
Ask yourself if you are responsible enough for an outpatient program. If you are, and you maintain your treatment, the rewards can be innumerable.
Both inpatient and outpatient treatment are comprehensive approaches to wellness. You will face temptations in both but as long as you remain responsible, you will also learn specific strategies as to how to deal with them. It is up to you to take advantage of those lessons.
AFTERCARE AND SOBER LIVING RESOURCES
Sober living may be the final step in your formal treatment plan before returning home, but treatment never really ends. Sober living houses provide the interim environment between rehab and mainstreaming back to your natural environment. The reason for the initial formation of sober houses was simple: a person in recovery frequently needed a safe and supportive place to stay, during the vulnerability of early recovery, prior to returning home.
Sober houses are also highly-structured, and most residents are referred to a sober living environment from a rehab center. Requirements and rules are strict, and they usually include: 1) No drugs or alcohol on the premises. 2) No violence. 3) No overnight or sleepover guests, not even family. 4) Commitment to random drug testing. 5) Involvement in a community-related program. 6) Acceptance by a peer group. 7) Acceptance of advice from treatment professionals. 8) Respect for the rules of the house. 9) Following of all directions. 10) No swearing. 11) No stealing. 12) No sexual activity between residents. 13) Honesty. 14) As part of a recovering community, if you see or hear any resident breaking the rules of the community, they must be reported immediately to appropriate staff. 15) Anyone on prescribed medication must inform the house manager upon admittance. 16) Residents must attend all sober house meetings. 17) Residents must submit to drug and/or alcohol tests upon request. 18) Rooms must be clean at all times. 19) Chores must be completed without argument. 20) Curfew must be respected.
Many of the above rules are enforced with a Zero Tolerance Policy. Meaning, if any of these rules are broken even once, you risk being kicked out of your sober living home. If you had experienced structure during your prior treatment to this point, you should be in good shape.
All highly regarded treatment programs consist of a comprehensive aftercare program for patients to follow when they complete treatment programs. An excellent aftercare program will include:
- Getting involved in one or more support groups.
- Ongoing counseling sessions.
- Follow-up therapy care, if required.
Aftercare programs also address any financial, professional, or legal problems that may have resulted from the drug abuse.
Patients who have recovered or those who are recovering, either through an inpatient or outpatient environment have to shift into sober living before living independently at their homes.
Sober living environments (SLE’s) provide additional treatment for patients who need extra support. Treatment centers in Rio Linda offer a safe and stable environment for patients in need of extra rehabilitation programs as they continue recovering from substance abuse and drug addiction.
Although some people can leave rehab centers and resume healthy everyday life, others need an extra, transitional stage of care.
Sober living settings meet the needs of recovering patients after having achieved inpatient or outpatient treatment programs. Even though some people can live a healthy life after leaving rehab centers, others will require additional support and care.
Patients need to understand how to take care of their lives without relapsing to drug addiction when recovering from successful treatment. With the sober living program, they obtain many benefits more than what they felt through substance and drug abuse. Sober living homes also give more support and security so that a recovering addict can resume normal life gradually.