For a CNDH patient relations specialist, please email or call (580) 272-1037, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Public Health


Opioids are a class of drug usually prescribed by doctors to treat or reduce pain. Opioids have been proven to be highly addictive and can lead to other drug use. In some cases, opioid addictions can be fatal.


Quick Facts About Opioid Misuse
  • 103,000 adolescents had an opioid use disorder in 2017
  • 80% of people who use heroin misused prescription opioids first
  • The U.S. overdose death rate reached an all-time high in 2019 with 72,000 deaths, 66% of which were specifically related to opioids
  • 37 of the 38 U.S. jurisdictions with available synthetic opioid data reported an increase in opioid overdose deaths between June 2019 and May 2020
  • 57% of 12- to 17-year olds who misuse prescription opioids get them from a friend or relative
  • Adolescent athletes in some high-injury sports are at a 50% higher risk of misusing painkillers versus their peers who do not participate in these sports
  • Approximately 153,926 Oklahomans age 12 or older misused prescription opioids in 2019*
    • *SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2018 and 2019
  • Oklahoma has one of the highest opioid prescribing rates in the United States, with 66 opioid prescriptions dispensed per 100 patients*
    • *Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. IQVIA Xponent 2006–2019. U.S. Opioid Dispensing Rate Map, 2019
  • From 2013 to 2017, nine of the 13 counties within the Chickasaw Nation boundaries reported a higher opioid death rate than the state of Oklahoma, ranging from 23.4 deaths per 100,000 population to 10.3 deaths per 100,000 population*
    • *OSDH, Injury Prevention Service, Fatal Unintentional Poisoning Surveillance System (abstracted from medical examiner reports) 
Why Opioids Can Be Dangerous

Opioids are highly addictive because they relieve pain and release chemicals in the brain that can make you feel calm and content. Addiction affects your self-control and your ability to resist the urges for the drug.

Risk factors for addiction

  • Family history of addiction
  • Mental health conditions
  • Peer pressure
  • Taking drugs that are highly addictive, like opioids
Prescription Opioids

Opioids can be prescribed by doctors to treat pain. Common types are oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine and methadone. These are normally prescribed after surgery or injury. The U.S. is currently experiencing an opioid epidemic. On average, 123 people die from opioid overdoses every day.


Pharmaceutical fentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain reliever approved for treating severe pain (typically pain associated with advanced cancer). It is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. However, most recent cases of fentanyl-related harm, overdose and death in the U.S. are linked to illegally produced fentanyl.


Heroin is an illegal opioid. It is highly addictive and is ingested by injection, snorting or smoking. From 2010 to 2019, heroin-related overdose deaths increased by nearly five times.

For more information about prescribed opioids, please visit the Prescription Opioids page provided by the CDC.

Preventing Opioid Overdose

A few key factors that could help reduce opioid overdose include:

  • Improve opioid prescribing protocols and frequency
  • Prevent opioid use disorder
  • Treat opioid use disorder

Improve Opioid Prescribing: Work with Your Doctor

  • Work with your doctor to create a plan to manage your pain:
    • Know your options and consider ways to manage your pain that do not include opioids
    • Talk to your doctor about any and all side effects and concerns
    • Make the most informed decision with your doctor
  • Follow up regularly with your doctor

Prevent Opioid Use Disorder: Take and Store Opioids Properly

  • Never take prescription opioids in greater amounts or more often than prescribed
  • Always let your doctor know about any side effects or concerns you may have about using opioids
  • Avoid taking opioids with alcohol and other substances or medications. It is very dangerous to combine opioids with other drugs, especially those that cause drowsiness such as:
    • Benzodiazepines (such as Xanax® and Valium®)
    • Muscle relaxants (such as Soma® or Flexeril®)
    • Hypnotics (such as Ambien® or Lunesta®)
    • Other prescription opioids
  • Do not share or sell your prescription opioids. It is illegal
  • Store prescription opioids in a secure place, out of reach of others (including children, family, friends and visitors)
  • If you have unused prescription opioids at the end of your treatment, find your community drug take-back program or your pharmacy mail-back program, or flush them down the toilet, following guidance from the Food and Drug Administration.

For more information, please visit the Prevention Opioid Misuse page provided by CDC.


Naloxone is medication used to counter the effects of opioid overdoses. It is used to counteract life-threatening depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system, allowing an overdose victim to breathe normally. Naloxone is a nonscheduled (non-addictive) prescription medication. This treatment only works if a person has opioids in their system; the medication has no effect if opioids are absent.

Although traditionally administered by emergency response personnel, naloxone can be administered by minimally trained individuals, which makes it ideal for treating overdose in people who have been prescribed opioid pain medication or people who use heroin and other opioids. It is a temporary drug that wears off in 20 to 90 minutes.

For more information on prevention and recovery, click here.

Define Your Direction offers resources to empower teens to make positive decisions when it comes to drinking and prescription drug abuse.

If you or someone you know needs help with a substance use disorder, talk to a doctor or call SAMHSA’s national helpline at (800) 662-HELP or (800) 662-4357.

Chickasaw Nation Department of Health

Primary Care

Your primary care health team is your partner in lifelong wellness. From annual checkups, to minor aches and pains, to injuries, illness and everything in between, the Chickasaw Nation Primary Care Clinic is your first call for health and wellness concerns.

We value you as a patient and our goal is to work together to facilitate a relationship that provides you with the highest quality of comprehensive care. Let us get to know you as you navigate good health through all seasons of life.


Your nearest primary care clinic looks forward to serving you and your health needs. Please call to schedule an appointment or for more information about available primary care services at your preferred clinic:

To protect your privacy, appointments, prescription refills or test results cannot be given via email or other messaging methods. Please call your preferred clinic for assistance.


For every childhood ailment, injury or concern, the Chickasaw Nation offers pediatric services at the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center and all three satellite clinics. You have an expert on your team with pediatric primary care. Visit for well-child and sick child exams, immunizations, sports physicals and referrals to specialty clinics as needed. Our pediatricians and nurses are trained to provide superior care to newborns, children and young adults.


Your nearest pediatric primary care clinic is ready to help your growing family. Please call to schedule an appointment or for more information about available pediatric primary care services at your preferred clinic:

To protect your privacy, appointments, prescription refills or test results cannot be given via email or other messaging methods. Please call your preferred clinic for assistance.

Prevention Services

Prevention services works to improve the overall health and quality of life for Chickasaw citizens, families and communities by promoting emotional well-being and reducing mental illness and substance use problems through education.

Prevention services provide education to all Chickasaw Nation employees, citizens, general public and non-tribal agencies upon request.

For assistance Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., contact Chickasaw Nation Prevention Services: (580) 436-7212.

For 24/7, free and confidential assistance, call the following numbers:

  • National suicide prevention lifeline - (800) 273-8255
  • Veterans crisis line - (800) 273-8255 and press 1
  • Problem gambling helpline - (800) 522-4700
  • The Oklahoma tobacco helpline - 1 (800) QUIT NOW or 1 (800) 784-8669

Zero Suicide is a commitment to suicide prevention in health and behavioral health care systems. It is both a concept and a practice being implemented by the Chickasaw Nation.

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