Editorial: Illegal drug usage is an epidemic

America, Oklahoma and Tulsa have a crisis concerning the abuse of illegal drugs and prescription painkillers.

The American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD) proclaimed a public alert about the dangers posed by drugs as a result of the current opioid crisis.

“The threat is unprecedented,” said ASCLD President Ray Wickenheiser. “Some of the clandestine substances being sold or made accessible have formulations that are so toxic that it’s better to consider them poison.”

Here are some sobering statistics:

  • In the first six months of 2017, there was a 19 percent increase in opioid submissions to crime labs as compared to all of 2016
  • In 2016, there were over 22 different types of fentanyl (a powerful opioid pain medication) identified in crime labs
  • 2017 has seen a 54 percent increase in fentanyl cases submitted to crime labs
  • Between 2012 and 2016, laboratories have witnessed a 6,000 percent increase in fentanyl cases. This increase corresponds directly with the overdose deaths being seen nationwide.
  • Case backlogs have increased by roughly 28 percent in the last year due to the increasing case submissions, case complexity and danger of the drugs now being seized by law enforcement.

The scope of this problem is epidemic. Police can’t keep up with the problem. Judges say that most crimes have some connection to the illegal use of drugs. Mexican gangs are pumping massive amounts of meth into Oklahoma.

The problem with fentanyl has tripled this year in Tulsa. Carfentanil, 100 times more lethal than fentanyl and 10,000 more lethal than morphine, is drug used to tranquilize elephants and it is being sold illegally in Tulsa.

This is a legal problem, a cultural problem and a spiritual problem. It overwhelms law enforcement and is encouraged by the culture (movies, TV, music, etc.). And fewer people seem to be seeking a spiritual solution.