Facts & Figures

Use of opioid prescription drugs for non-medical reasons and past-year heroin use are on the rise nationally, tripling emergency department visits due to opioid overdose (1). In 2014, an estimated 1.9 million people in the U.S. had an opioid use disorder (OUD) related to prescription pain relievers, and an estimated 586,000 had an OUD related to heroin (2). Nearly 19,000 individuals died nationwide as a result of prescription opioid overdose; and more than 17,000 from illicit drug overdose (more than 10,000 of which involved heroin) (3).

How is Oklahoma Doing? Oklahoma is among the states hardest hit by this epidemic and ranks first in the Nation for consumption of nonmedical pain relievers (4). Unintentional poisoning is the leading cause of injury death for Oklahomans ages 25 to 64, and more than four out of five prescription drug-related overdose deaths involve prescription painkillers (5). In 2014, nine of 10 prescription-drug-related overdose deaths in Oklahoma involved prescription painkillers such as opioid analgesics hydrocodone, oxycodone, and fentanyl. (6) (See map below)

County-level opioid-involved drug poisoning mortality rates, 2012 through 2016 (7)


Oklahoma has a lower estimate of unmet treatment needs for illicit drugs (inclusive of heroin) among all age groups; fairly consistently estimated at or just below 2% in all regions of the state. Estimates are not available for unmet treatment needs for prescription opioids, however past-year non-medical use of pain relievers by persons ages 12 and older is higher than the national average in all regions of the state.

Nonmedical Use of Pain Relievers in the Past Year among Individuals Aged 12 or Older, by State and Sub-State Region 

Focus of Rural Medication-Assisted Treatment Expansion – Designated Oklahoma Counties

The state has many ongoing initiatives to improve access to community-based substance abuse treatment services, promote awareness of the opioid epidemic, foster safe prescribing of opioid prescription drugs, and prevent diversion of prescribed narcotics. However, access to treatment for OUD remains a challenge, particularly in rural counties. Across the counties of focus in the MAT Expansion project, the rate of waivered office-based MAT providers is approximately 2.2 physicians per 100,000 population. This is far lower than both the rates of Oklahoma as a whole (3.2 per 100,000) and the nation (4.82 per 100,000). 

Number of Oklahoma Physicians Waivered by SAMHSA for Office-based MAT (DATA 2000 Buprenorphine Waiver) by County* December, 2016
* Counts available from the SAMHSA website are not de-duplicated; waivered physicians may be counted in multiple counties.

  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2013). Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2011: National Estimates of Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits. Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/data/2k13/DAWN2k11ED/DAWN2k11ED.htm#5.2
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015). Substance Use Disorders. Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/disorders/substance-use
  3. National Center on Health Statistics, CDC WONDER. (2015). Multiple cause of death, 1999-2013. Retrieved from http://wonder.cdc.gov/mcd.html.
  4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2012-2014
  5. Oklahoma State Department of Health. (2014). Unintentional Poisonings. Retrieved from https://www.ok.gov/health/Protective_Health/Injury_Prevention_Service/Unintentional_Poisoning/index.html
  6. Oklahoma State Department of Health. (2014). 2014 State of the State’s Health. Retrieved from https://ok.gov/health2/documents/SOSH%202014.pdf
  7. Adapted from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Multiple Cause of Death 1999-2016 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released December 2017. Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2016, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Accesed at http://wonder.cdc.gov/mcd-icd10.html on Jan 19, 2018 12:37:09 PM