The Progression of Oklahoma Drug Abuse

While some people claim that there are no gateway drugs, there are some common patterns of drug use that lead people to using deadly and highly addictive drugs. The residents of Oklahoma suffer from these patterns as much as anyone else in the U.S.

One mother in Tulsa described the way her son started on the road to heroin addiction: First, he stole Adderall pills in school, and then was caught smoking marijuana at the school bus stop. She sent him to rehab and after he graduated from high school and moved away from home, she learned that he was using meth and then several years later, heroin. Now a drug court is giving him a chance to get his sober life back.

A young woman in Lexington got started on drugs a completely different way. She went to the doctor for a back injury. She was prescribed an extensive cocktail of drugs. Six years later, that cocktail combined into an overwhelming mix of drugs that killed her. Just before her death, she complained of a bad toothache which may have led to her taking whatever drugs she had on hand to deal with it. When she died, she had three opioid painkillers, a muscle relaxer, an anti-anxiety drug and a tranquilizer in her body. The doctor who prescribed her drugs was arrested and convicted in the deaths of several patients.

Woman ponders pills in her hand

Another woman in Tulsa got started using drugs when she became depressed after giving up a child for adoption when she was just 17 years old. Her prescriptions for Ativan, Xanax and Valium seemed to keep the pain away, but then she made the move to heroin. She went to prison for crimes committed to acquire drugs but then spent 18 months in a women’s recovery program. That experience taught her how to stay sober.

A Lesson for Parents

The lesson from these experiences is that drug use is not an unchanging thing. Once a person begins using drugs, there is very often a progression to more serious drugs – the kind that can kill a person at any moment, like heroin or painkillers like oxycodone or hydrocodone.

Parents would be very wise to take note of the tendency to progress from one drug to another. Some parents – particularly those who use marijuana or who drink excessively – don’t make it clear to their children that they oppose the use of any drugs or underage drinking. But surveys show that when parents are clear about the rules with their children that more youth will avoid the use of drugs. This is true even when a teenager rolls his (or her) eyes and appears to reject everything the parent says. Even when it seems like they don’t listen, the message gets through.

No drug use is safe, no drug use is harmless. Parents should let their children know this fact and encourage drug-free interests and activities.

Stories Also Point Out the Necessity of Recovery Programs

Even if parents do an excellent job of prevention, some young people or adults will still begin using drugs like marijuana, alcohol, Spice or Adderall. Some of them will move along this common progression until their addictions are life-threatening. If they can’t stop and get sober on their own, they need effective help.

Of course, this is why rehab that really works is needed to help Oklahomans break free from this destructive pattern. Narconon Arrowhead has been in the state for more than twenty years, helping rehabilitate Oklahomans and others from all over the country.

Narconon Arrowhead from the air

From the Arrowhead State Park in Canadian, Narconon Arrowhead welcomes those who seek a new, sober life. In eight to ten weeks, on average, it is possible to gain the skills needed to manage one’s own sober life without meetings or medications like Suboxone or methadone. This is where you can achieve the ability to enjoy a productive life in which you know how to face changes and upsets without being driven back into drug use. Those new life skills can be the foundation of your new sober life.

Learn more about the Narconon Arrowhead drug rehab program today by calling 1-800-468-6933. 



For more than a decade, Karen has been researching and writing about drug trafficking, drug abuse, addiction and recovery. She has also studied and written about policy issues related to drug treatment.