Report: Oklahoma Ranks High In Prescription Drug Overdose Death Rate

Monday, October 7th 2013, 1:54 pm
By: News On 6

A new report says Oklahoma has the fifth highest prescription drug overdose death rate in the country, but that the state is doing more than most to fight prescription drug abuse.

The report on prescription drug abuse was released Monday by the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Trust for America's Health.

The report shows Oklahoma had a prescription drug overdose death rate of 19.4 per 100,000 people from 1999 to 2010.

"Prescription drugs can be a miracle for many, but misuse can have dire consequences. The rapid rise of abuse requires nothing short of a full-scale response - starting with prevention and education all the way through to expanding and modernizing treatment," said Jeffrey Levi, PhD, executive director of TFAH. "There are many promising signs that we can turn this around - but it requires urgent action."

The top five states in the report for drug overdose death rate are:

  1. West Virginia (28.9)
  2. New Mexico (23.8)
  3. Kentucky (23.6)
  4. Nevada (20.7)
  5. Oklahoma (19.4)

The report notes prescription drug abuse has become a major public health concern as the number of drug overdose deaths has skyrocketed over the last 15 years.

The report found Oklahoma received eight out of 10 possible indicators of promising strategies to help curb prescription drug abuse.

Nationally, 28 states and Washington, D.C. scored six or less, with New Mexico and Vermont scoring the highest, with a 10, and South Dakota scoring the lowest with two out of 10.

Trust for America's Health says on its website it is a non-profit organization "dedicated to saving lives by protecting the health of every community and working to make disease prevention a national priority."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.