With the state’s sweeping Great Plains and rich pioneer history, Oklahoma is home to cultural and natural attractions alike. But beneath these enriching qualities is a darker reality.
An estimated 600 to 800 people are on waiting lists each day for inpatient addiction treatment in Oklahoma. As the nationwide opioid epidemic continues, the number of people needing treatment for heroin, prescription opioid painkillers and synthetic opioids like fentanyl is climbing. Even with this demand, only about one in ten Oklahomans in need of treatment for opioid addiction receives it.
To fill this gap, it’s critical that more comprehensive addiction treatment options are made available to Oklahoma residents and their families.
Oklahoma Substance Abuse Statistics
Drug addiction of all types is a rising concern in Oklahoma. In line with the rest of the nation, Oklahoma is bracing against our country’s opioid epidemic.
Types Of Drug Abuse
The following substances are frequently abused in Oklahoma:
- Cocaine (including crack)
- Prescription benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax)
- Prescription opioid painkillers (OxyContin, Vicodin)
- Prescription stimulant ADHD medications (Adderall, Ritalin)
Abuse of these substances can lead to addiction. Many of these drugs put a person at risk of overdose and death.
Drug-Related Overdose Deaths
The Oklahoma Commission on Opioid Abuse released its final report in January of 2018. Chaired by Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter, the report outlined substance abuse in the state, particularly opioid abuse.
The report found that:
- Drug-overdose deaths have risen 91 percent over the past 15 years and continue to rise.
- Almost 1,000 Oklahoma residents die each year from a drug overdose.
Meth is the number one cause of drug-related deaths in Oklahoma. Oxycodone (OxyContin) is second.
Health Problems Caused By Drug Abuse
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked Jefferson and Cimarron counties in the top five percent for a high risk of HIV and hepatitis C outbreaks. Injection drug use can spread these potentially life-threatening diseases. Despite this, as of 2018 Oklahoma did not have any needle exchange programs.
Further, the Oklahoma Commission on Opioid Abuse’s report cautioned that “In the last three years, more than 1,300 newborns tested positive for substance exposure and went into withdrawal the moment they were born.” For people who abuse opioids, this risk includes neonatal abstinence syndrome.
Oklahoma Addiction Prevention Efforts
In the fall of 2017, the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services announced that they were cutting back outpatient mental health and substance abuse programs. This eliminated or reduced these forms of treatment for 189,000 Oklahoma residents. This includes treatment of opioid use disorders.
The Oklahoma Commission on Opioid Abuse
This report recommended eight legislative changes to fight the opioid epidemic. It suggests that the state adopt a Good Samaritan Law. This law would protect individuals who report an overdose.
Think Smart Oklahoma
This campaign outlines safe disposal and storage methods to help reduce prescription drug misuse and diversion. Information on overdose prevention and naloxone, an overdose reversal drug, is also available.
In 2013, the state passed legislation that allowed naloxone to be dispensed to trained family members, friends and first responders, enabling them to administer this life-saving overdose reversal medication when they witness an overdose.
Oklahoma Addiction Treatment
Choosing an individualized Oklahoma addiction treatment program can give a person the personalized therapy they need to build a life free from drug or alcohol abuse.
From intervention to aftercare services and every treatment in between, Oklahoma addiction treatment can be adapted to fit each person’s recovery needs and goals.
Denial can make it difficult for some people to see that they need treatment. In these cases, an intervention can help the person and their family understand the need for professional addiction treatment.
A professional Oklahoma interventionist can help to plan and oversee the intervention. Some will also accompany the person to the treatment center.
Drug And Alcohol Detox Programs
Medical detox provides 24-hour medical care while a person’s body stabilizes and adjusts to sobriety. This compassionate support helps to protect a person from relapse and prepares them for the next stage of treatment.
Medications are administered as needed during drug and alcohol detox to reduce or prevent cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal from alcohol, benzodiazepines, and opioid drugs is commonly treated this way.
Oklahoma Inpatient Addiction Treatment
High-quality Oklahoma inpatient drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs provide a therapeutic community where a person can begin building a fulfilling, sober life.
One of the greatest benefits of inpatient addiction treatment in the residential setting. Living on campus provides day-to-day inspiration, structure, and accountability. This community-minded treatment can make it easier for a person to commit wholeheartedly to their recovery. A residential setting reduces exposure to triggers that commonly cause a relapse.
Healing from addiction takes time. In addition to the physical effects of chronic drug abuse, addiction can deeply change a person’s emotional and mental health. As a person’s physical and psychological states become unstable, their life and relationships can be severely damaged. Inpatient drug rehab programs generally commit more time to these and other important issues.
Inpatient drug rehab centers use an individualized approach to promote healing and personal growth. Certain programs offer specialized treatments for teens, parents or married couples, while others teach career-enhancing sober-living skills.
Outpatient Addiction Treatment
While some people achieve sobriety in an outpatient program, this level of care is generally more beneficial when used as a step-down service after completing an inpatient program.
In this role, traditional outpatient and intensive outpatient programs guide a person as they transition from the structured environment of a residential treatment setting to independent sober living.
Aftercare And Alumni Services
The goal of Oklahoma aftercare and alumni services is to help a person remain focused on sober-living principles after they leave treatment.
In Oklahoma, aftercare options may include:
- Online recovery resources
- Mentorship opportunities
- Peer support groups
- Self-improvement classes
- Sober-living homes
These programs and resources can also support a person as they pursue personal, family, career and educational goals, all elements of a stable recovery and fulfilling life.
Specialized Oklahoma Addiction Treatment Programs
Many people have specific needs that can be addressed in a specialized Oklahoma addiction treatment program. Some drug rehab centers also offer programs for executives or professionals, as well as holistic, LGBTQIA-friendly, luxury, religious, 12-step or non-12-step treatment programs.
Medication-assisted treatment combines medications, or pharmacotherapies, with behavioral therapies and counseling to treat the physical, mental and emotional effects of addiction.
Buprenorphine (Suboxone) and methadone are maintenance medications used to help people reduce or quit using opioid drugs.
Acamprosate (Campral), disulfiram (Antabuse) and naltrexone (Vivitrol) are used to treat alcohol use disorders and discourage alcohol use.
As Oklahoma battles the opioid epidemic, MAT could help people live safer, healthier and sober lives.
Medication-assisted treatment has been shown to decrease:
- Opioid use
- Opioid-related overdose deaths
- Criminal activity
- Infectious disease transmission
- Symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome
Medication-assisted treatment has been shown to increase:
- Treatment retention rates (helps people stay in treatment longer)
- Healthy social skills
- Gender-Specific Treatment
Gender-specific Oklahoma addiction treatment programs provide welcoming environments, living arrangements and therapies that respect each person’s unique challenges and goals.
Oklahoma dual-diagnosis treatment programs support individuals who have both a mental health and substance use disorder. Mental health issues that commonly co-occur with addiction include depression, anxiety, ADHD and PTSD.
Oklahoma Addiction Treatment Therapies
Many treatment centers offer individual, group and family therapy options. These sessions help a person develop coping and relapse-prevention skills so they have greater stability in their personal, social and family lives.
Evidence-based behavioral therapies include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Motivational interviewing
- 12-step facilitation therapy
An increasing number of addiction treatment centers use complementary therapies and classes to support better mental and physical health.
Some of these therapies may include:
- Adventure or wilderness therapies
- Art or music therapy
- Equine or pet therapy
- Nutrition and physical fitness classes
- Yoga or tai chi
Some alternative therapies, like meditation, yoga and stress-management practices, are great for reducing stress, which is one of the biggest triggers of relapse.
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How To Pay For Oklahoma Addiction Treatment
Using health insurance benefits is one of the best ways to expand treatment options and reduce private-pay responsibilities.
The following health insurance companies may provide coverage for substance abuse treatment in Oklahoma:
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma
- UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Oklahoma
Each insurance plan’s coverage limits, copays, and deductible will vary. If a person doesn’t have insurance or still needs help after insurance benefits, other forms of financial assistance may be available.
Additional financial assistance may include:
- Help from loved ones
- Financing options
- Medical loan
- Scholarships or grants
- Sliding-scale fees
Treatment Program Length
The most common short-term addiction treatment programs last 30 days, while mid-length programs last 60 days. Treatment outcomes have been shown to improve in programs lasting 90 days or longer. Long-term treatment options include 120-day programs to those that last a year or longer.
Traveling For Addiction Treatment
Traveling to treatment can help a person better focus on their recovery. A person may be tempted to leave treatment early if their home is close by. This is a major reason why many people prefer out-of-state treatment programs.
Long-distance rehab programs can spark a sense of independence, greater self-confidence, and commitment to the recovery process. These are all things that can be beneficial during treatment.