Oklahoma Receives Grant To Tackle Prescription Drug Problem

By McCarton Ackerman 08/18/14

The state was given $1 million that will be used to prevent overdoses and address triggers for addiction.

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The state of Oklahoma has recently received a major financial boost to fight prescription drug abuse in a $1 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The money will be dispersed over the next three years to help prevent prescription drug overdoses and deaths, as well as address the behaviors that trigger it. The state is also planning to use a portion of the money to improve its prescription drug monitoring program, in addition to identifying locations throughout Oklahoma where prescription drug abuse occurs more frequently.
The CDC reported that Oklahoma has the sixth-highest rate of overdose deaths in the country and the fifth-highest prescribing rate. In 2011, the state noted that 703 people died from drug overdoses, or roughly 19 out of every 100,000 people. The following year, Oklahoma doctors wrote up 128 opioid pain reliever prescriptions for every 100 people, well above the U.S. average of 83 prescriptions per 100 people.
“Prescription drug abuse is a scourge that has overtaken drugs like meth when it comes to harming the health of Oklahomans,” said Gov. Mary Fallin. “These additional resources will help us continue to strengthen successful state programs and ultimately save lives.”
The city of Tulsa has also been dealing with a violent meth trade. Although the number of meth labs throughout the city is down to 143, compared to a peak of 429 in 2011, the number of homicides related to the drug has increased. Two quadruple murders took place last year, while a 34-year-old man was beaten to death last November in a drug deal gone wrong.
State legislation passed in July 2012 that limited access to pseudoephedrine, which is a key ingredient in making meth.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.