Since 2014, meth is the leading cause of drug deaths in the state of Oklahoma, but it’s effecting the state in a very different way.
“We saw a changing of how meth was coming into Oklahoma. From 1998 to 2004, we saw meth labs, and people were cooking it domestically,” Mark Woodward with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics told News 4. “In 2004, when we put SUDAFED in pharmacies, meth labs did go down, but almost over night we had drug trafficking organizations filling that void.”
Drugs are now being brought into the state instead of being made locally.
In Canadian County the sheriff’s office seized more than 220 lbs of meth. Sheriff Chris West said they believe they made two of of the biggest busts in the country thanks to routine traffic stops on I-40.
“Right here in Canadian County, Interstate 40. We are out there working hard looking for the stuff, trying to keep it off the streets,” West said. “We really want these drug cartels and dope dealers right in the guts where they need to get it.”
It’s not just the larger shipments coming in.
West said he’s seen an increase in merging coming into and through his county. That’s why he’s doing everything he can to not only get the meth off the streets, but to stop it at the source.
“A lot of times, when we take those drugs off the highway here, off the interstate, we don’t want it to end there,” West said. “We want to find out where it was coming from and where it was going.”
The OBN said it’s not just the larger cities being flooded with the drug. The smaller communities like Canadian County are the forefront of the fight against meth.
“Just two weeks ago down in Lawton, for example, we went in with 27 arrests warrants and shut down an entire sell group that was bringing two to 10 pounds routinely into southwest Oklahoma,” Woodward said.
According to OBN, in 2018, there were 335 drug deaths in Oklahoma involving methamphetamine.