The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics is hosting a public forum in Ardmore to keep citizens informed about the current and emerging drug issues within the state and community.
The free event will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on July 11 at the Southern Technology Center, 2610 Sam Noble Parkway, Conference Room A. OBN spokesman Mark Woodward said Ardmore is the organization’s ninth stop in its efforts to inform communities across the state.
“It’s important that we go around to these areas and let people know a little bit about what are some of the top drug threats that are happening in their communities and more importantly, what can they do about it to help address it,” Woodward said.
Woodward said the OBN compiled it’s 2018 comprehensive Drug Threat Assessment based on information gathered from local sheriffs’ offices and police departments. The data demonstrates increases and declines in drug activity in certain areas, he said.
OBN experts will be going over the assessment at the forum, among other things. One of the presenters will also be discussing the OBN’s overdose mapping system used throughout the state.
The mapping system is critical in rapidly responding to drug threats within communities, Woodward said.
“For example, a cluster of six or seven heroin deaths in Ardmore in a 24 hour to 48 hour period of time,” Woodward said. “That can alert us that there may be some new type of drug that has hit the streets that we need to get in there and start deploying resources on.”
Additional topics include drugs being trafficked into Oklahoma, drug programs available at the OBN and ways to spot drug use within one’s home and community, he said.
“These are different experts with different expertise that we want to share with the community about what the problems are and what we’re going to do to address those problems,” Woodward said.
Increasing awareness about what’s happening within a community is one of the best ways to address drug issues, Woodward said. Awareness also helps family members intervene with their loved ones before recreational drug use potentially turns into addiction, he said.
“We can’t be in every home, we can’t be in every backyard or alley or workplace, but some of the citizens are on the front line where this stuff may be occurring,” Woodward said. “If they know what to look for, how to spot it and how to report it, then we can more quickly address the potential drug problem.”
Individuals who are unable to attend the public forum can also view the OBN’s 2018 comprehensive Drug Threat Assessment by downloading a copy on the OBN’s website, Woodward said.