Rx overdoses declining in Oklahoma

October 30, 2015

The number of Oklahoma residents who died last year from prescription drug overdoses dipped slightly, which some state officials believe is an indication that some of its drug-abuse prevention efforts may be succeeding.

The number of Oklahoma residents who died last year from prescription drug overdoses dipped slightly, which some state officials believe is an indication that some of its drug-abuse prevention efforts may be succeeding.

Last year, 510 Oklahoma residents died from prescription drug overdoses, compared to the 538 prescription drug overdoses reported in 2013, according to the state health department officials.

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The 5% decrease equals a prescription drug overdose death rate of 13.2 deaths per 100,000 people, which is the lowest rate in Oklahoma since 2007.

"There are more prescription drug overdose deaths each year in Oklahoma than overdose deaths from alcohol and all illegal drugs combined," Gov. Mary Fallin said in a statement published in The Oklahoman." Moving forward, we need to continue to push treatment and prevention programs wherever we can to help fight this dangerous public health problem."

Oklahoma’s prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) tracks prescriptions filled for schedule II, III, IV, and V controlled substances. Beginning in November, state law will require that physicians check the PDMP when prescribing controlled substances.

Many states have created PDMPs, but often they are not combined with laws mandating prescribers use them. And some reports have indicated that physicians in many states do not regularly use them.

 

Oklahoma, like most states, has also seen an increase in the number of residents seeking treatment for substance abuse. According to state officials, 24% of Oklahoma residents seeking publicly funded substance abuse treatment were identified as opiate or heroin abuse cases. A decade ago, 10% of Oklahoma residents sought such substance abuse treatment for opiate or heroin abuse.