Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter and members of the Oklahoma Commission on Opioid Abuse released their findings and final recommendations for legislation, policy and rule changes to combat the state’s current opioid epidemic.
They recommended the following:
- Mandate the use of electronic prescriptions;
- Criminalize the trafficking of fentanyl and its equivalent;
- Passage of a Good Samaritan Law;
- Requiring medical clinic owners to register with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.
- A tax on manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of opioids, and use the money as a funding mechanism for opioid addiction treatment;
- Fully funding drug courts and other specialty courts throughout the state;
- Review of current drug laws to determine drug court eligibility and expand eligibility after recent changes in the law which made some drug possession crimes misdemeanor offenses;
- Encourage use of the ODMap application by law enforcement, first responders, and health officials to track overdose events in real time so that resources can be directed to “hot-spot” areas and criminal investigations can be conducted, if necessary;
- Change necessary rules with the appropriate boards to require at least one hour of continuing education for all prescribers and pharmacists every reporting period on proper prescribing and the risks of opioids and recognizing addiction and diversion;
- Create a statewide emergency department (“ER”) discharge database to study overdose events and aftercare results.
The nine-member commission, made of representatives from law enforcement, the medical community, businesses and the legislature, met six times over the course of the last five months to hear testimony from state and national stakeholders involved in the opioid epidemic.
Hunter applauded the member’s efforts and said the recommendations will go a long way to curbing the state’s opioid epidemic.
“What we are presenting is a blueprint for changes to legislation and policy that will establish a much needed framework to further enhance Oklahoma’s response to the opioid epidemic,” Hunter said. “When implemented, we know lives will be saved, more treatment options will be made available, addiction will be diagnosed, diverted and treated, allowing families who have loved ones struggling with addiction to get help and drug dealers will be held accountable. I look forward to seeing the change that will come about because of our work.”
Hunter also announced his office acted on the commission recommendation to participate in the First Responder Overdose Program, through the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.
“This morning, I signed a memorandum of understanding with the department of mental health to have agents in the Attorney General’s Office trained to carry Naloxone,” Attorney General Hunter said. “We hope leading by example, will send a message to other law enforcement agencies to get involved with this program.”