Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter announced the formation of a state task force to combat opioid addiction on Wednesday.
The Oklahoma Commission on Opioid Abuse will consist of nine members, including lawmakers, law enforcement, a dentist, a pharmacist, a nurse and a doctor. It will consider policy changes to prevent, treat and intervene in opioid addiction.
The commission, created by Senate Concurrent Resolution 12, will present legislative recommendations to Governor Mary Fallin, Speaker of the House of Representatives Charles McCall and Senate President Mike Schulz by Dec. 1. State Senator AJ Griffin and State Representative Tim Downing authored the resolution.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines opioids as illegal drugs like heroin, as well as legal prescription pain medications, like morphine and oxycodone, which are often used illegally.
Oklahoma is the top state for nonmedical use of pain relievers among adults, and the second-ranked state for nonmedical use of pain relievers among youth, according to a survey conducted by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Oklahoma also has one of the highest numbers of painkiller prescriptions per capita, with 128 prescriptions per 100 people in 2012.
Previous state plans to reduce opioid abuse have included measures to educate the public, encourage proper disposal of extra pills and monitor painkiller prescriptions to prevent fraud and misuse.
The new commission will evaluate existing state policy, including education, treatment and prevention.
“This commission will chart a path forward by looking at every avenue to save lives,” Hunter said in a press release.
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