Substance Abuse

Oklahoma Intensifies Its Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Efforts with Newly Signed Laws

The State of Oklahoma is taking a serious aim at ending its prescription drug abuse problem with a new set of reform measures.

Gov. Mary Fallin recently signed into law House Bill 1782 and House Bill 1783, which address the growing problem of prescription medicine abuse in the state. Both sets of legislation were sponsored by Rep. Todd Russ and Sen. A.J. Griffin.

HB 1782 authorizes emergency responders to apply lifesaving medication when called in prescription drug overdose cases. HB 1783 prohibits a written or oral prescription containing the painkiller hydrocodone from being refilled.

Last month, Gov. Fallin signed into law House Bill 1781 which allows the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) to access certain prescription drug use-related information from the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs  for research purposes. The law will enable experts to identify areas where drugs are being overprescribed and abused in order to aid in the prevention of prescription drug abuse.

A government report shows more than 80 percent of drug-related deaths in Oklahoma are caused by prescription drugs. Another survey reveals eight percent of Oklahomans, more than twice the national average, are abusing prescription medicines.

In addition to these new laws, the state’s FY 2014 budget includes more than $17 million of additional funds to support ODMHSAS operations, including prescription drug prevention and treatment initiatives.

“As a state, we are committed to providing the resources to prevent drug abuse from occurring in the first place,” Gov. Fallin said in a news release. “That’s why this year’s budget includes a significant increase in resources for prescription drug abuse prevention and treatment initiatives.  These programs will help Oklahomans get healthier and improve the already great quality of life in our state.”

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