Of all felonies in Oklahoma’s two biggest counties on a single day chosen at random, six out of 10 were linked to drugs or alcohol, a review by the Tulsa World and The Oklahoman found. Of 62 felony cases filed in the two counties on a random day last year, 38 people were either charged with crimes directly involving drugs or alcohol, used substances while on probation or deferred sentences, or committed crimes while under the influence.
Nearly all of the 38 people had been convicted of prior crimes. Several had been kicked out of drug court or sober living programs while others committed new crimes after they had been granted deferred sentences. Tulsa prosecutor Doug Drummond called the figure low, estimating that “80 to 90 percent of our cases, including homicides and robberies, involve some link to illegal drugs or alcohol.” Oklahoma City prosecutor Scott Rowland said people who possess drugs for personal use are not likely to wind up in prison, especially on first offenses. “Contrary to popular belief, you have to work pretty hard to go to prison for possession of drugs in Oklahoma,” he said.