Re: OTPC Support for Policies to Reduce Prescription Opioid-Related Overdose and Death

February 1, 2018

Dear Senator/Representative:
On behalf of the Oklahoma Turning Point Council (OTPC) and our partners across the state, we encourage you to support programs and policies that reduce prescription opioid-related overdose and death, such as 911 Good Samaritan Laws that are embedded in a state-wide, multi-faceted approach. 

Over the past 15 years, opioid overdose deaths in the U.S. have quadrupled.  In 2016, more than 46 people died every day from overdoses involving prescription opioids nationwide. While Oklahoma saw a reduction in the number of deaths related to opioid overdose between 2013 and 2016, Oklahoma still had the 23rd  highest drug overdose death rate in the nation.  More unintentional poisoning deaths involved prescription opioids than alcohol and all illicit drugs combined. The opioid epidemic has enormous human costs of pain and tragedy on individuals, families and friends. The economic cost of the opioid epidemic to the U.S. was $78 billion in 2013, which included lost productivity, law enforcement, and treatment. 

The majority of U.S. states have enacted Good Samaritan Overdose Immunity Laws providing varying degrees of immunity from arrest, charge or prosecution under specified circumstances.  The Oklahoma State Plan “Reducing Prescription Drug Abuse in Oklahoma” advocates for the Oklahoma state legislature to adopt a Good Samaritan Law. It also advocates for a multi-faceted approach that includes strategies for prevention and education, monitoring and diversion control, treatment and intervention, and regulation and law enforcement. 

The OTPC serves as an independent statewide consortium focused on policy issues aimed at improving Oklahoma’s health. Policies reducing deaths due to opioid overdose and misuse are urgently needed in Oklahoma, including a 911 Good Samaritan Law.

The OTPC along with the organizations listed, are grateful for your service and commitment to Oklahoma and look forward to working with you to implement policies that reduce prescription drug overdose  and death in Oklahoma.
Doug Moore
2018 OTPC Chair

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