Meth addiction and sex trafficking are fueling Oklahoma’s growing syphilis outbreak – Salon

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A fast-spreading outbreak of syphilis in Oklahoma has left health officials concerned that the sexually transmitted disease will continue to circulate and potentially endanger lives, according to a recent report by the New York Times.

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The disease can eventually cause “blindness, paralysis and dementia” if untreated, and the recent outbreak is a byproduct of the heroin and methamphetamine epidemics, because users will often trade sex for the substances, the Times reported.

 

In a video interview, shown above, Salon spoke with Portia King, a veteran Oklahoma state health investigator who has seen the epidemic quickly grow out out of control.

King attributes the syphilis outbreak to widespread drug use and drug addiction, and in particular, meth.

“Drugs like meth really ramp up someone’s sexual appetite, and so they tend to have a lot of partners,” King said. “They have a lot of partners within their drug network, and so it’s a lot of people sharing the same partner.”

In an earlier interview with the Times, King said her department is dealing with 200 open cases of sex partners they’re looking for. “The spread is migrating out of the city,” she told the Times.

Meth addiction and sex trafficking are fueling Oklahoma’s growing syphilis outbreakKing attributes the syphilis outbreak to widespread drug use and drug addiction, and in particular, meth. “Drugs like meth really ramp up someone’s sexual appetite, and so they tend to have a lot of partners,” King said.

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Meth addiction and sex trafficking are fueling Oklahoma’s growing syphilis outbreak – Salon

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