Oklahoma Heroin Information
Heroin is made from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seedpod of the Asian poppy plant. Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder. Street names for heroin include "smack," "H," "skag," and "junk." Other names may refer to types of heroin produced in a specific geographical area, such as "Mexican black tar."
Heroin is available in Oklahoma, primarily in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Mexican black tar heroin is the most prevalent type of heroin in Oklahoma. Mexican brown powdered heroin is available to a lesser extent. Mexican criminal groups are the primary transporters and wholesale distributors of Mexican black tar and brown powdered heroin. Hispanic and African American street gangs conduct most of the retail distribution that occurs in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Virtually all of the heroin available in Oklahoma is produced in Mexico.
Heroin prices in Oklahoma City and Tulsa have remained relatively stable, according to the DEA Dallas Division. In Oklahoma City in the first quarter of FY2002, Mexican black tar heroin sold for $25 per bag, $200 per bundle (10 bags), $150 to $250 per gram, $4,500 per ounce, and $30,000 per kilogram. In Tulsa in the first quarter of FY2002, Mexican black tar heroin sold for $90 to $125 per gram and $1,500 to $2,500 per ounce.
Heroin is smuggled in private vehicles into Oklahoma through southwestern states, particularly Texas. Interstates 35, 40, and 44 and US 54 and 69 are frequently used to transport heroin within Oklahoma. Heroin typically is sold from private residences and at businesses such as nightclubs.
Heroin use and addiction is a problem in Oklahoma even though the number of heroin-related treatment admissions to publicly funded facilities in 2001 (180) was lower than in 1997.
According to the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, 5 % of substance abuse-related treatment admissions in FY2001 reported heroin/other opiates as their primary drug of choice.
The number of deaths in which heroin was a factor in Oklahoma County decreased from 37 in 1996 to 16 in 1997, then increased to 26 in 1998. The number of deaths subsequently decreased to 25 in 1999 and 19 in 2000, the most recent data available.
Over two percent of Oklahoma high school students surveyed reported heroin use.
The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services reports that 2.4 percent of Oklahoma high school students surveyed during the 1999-2000 school year indicated that they had used heroin at least once in their lifetime. Reported use was highest among ninth grade students (3.0%) and lowest among eleventh grade students (1.7%). Reported lifetime heroin use was 2.6 percent among tenth grade students and 2.3 percent among twelfth grade students.
Regular heroin use causes tolerance, which requires increased amounts. This means the abuser must use more heroin to achieve the same effect. As higher doses are used over time, physical dependence and addiction develop. With physical dependence, the body has adapted to the presence of the drug and withdrawal symptoms will occur when the amount used in decreased or stopped.
Withdrawal from heroin occurs in regular abusers as soon as a few hours after the last dose, and causes cravings, restlessness, muscle and bone pain, sleeplessness, diarrhea and vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps ("cold turkey"), random leg kicking movements ("kicking the habit"), and other symptoms that are analogous to a severe case of the flu. Major withdrawal symptoms peak between 48 and 72 hours after the last dose and subside after six days to a week. Heroin withdrawal is considered less dangerous than alcohol withdrawal, which requires medical supervision.
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