KGOU

Attorney General Mike Hunter

Judge Thad Balkman presides over the proceedings as Terri White, Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner, speaks as a State’s witness with attorney Reggie Whitten during the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Court
Chris Landsberger / The Oklahoman

A global megacorporation best known for Band-Aids and baby powder may have to pay billions for its alleged role in the opioid crisis. Johnson & Johnson was the sole defendant in a closely-watched trial that wrapped up in Oklahoma state court this week, with a decision expected later this summer. The ruling in the civil case could be the first that would hold a pharmaceutical company responsible for one of the worst drug epidemics in American history.

Ryan LaCroix / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

The federal government is seeking its slice of Oklahoma’s recent $270 million settlement with Purdue Pharmaceuticals, and the bill could be millions of dollars.

Judge Thad Balkman speaks during discussions of the settlement between the state of Oklahoma and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. during Oklahoma’s trial against drugmakers blamed for contributing to the opioid crisis, Monday, June 10, 2019.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

The first case in a flood of civil litigation against opioid drug manufacturers is in its third week in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter’s suit alleges Johnson & Johnson, the nation’s largest drugmaker, helped ignite a public health crisis that has killed thousands of state residents.

The Cleveland County courthouse in Norman, Oklahoma, where the state’s opioid trial will take place.
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

A case that could signal the outcome of a flood of litigation against opioid drug manufacturers begins May 28th in Oklahoma.  

The bench trial is poised to be the first of its kind to play out in court. 

Working In Background, Lawyer Reaps Fees In Opioid Case

Apr 10, 2019
Attorney Glenn Coffee, former state senator and Oklahoma Secretary of State, appeared at a news conference in January 2018 in support of a plan called “Step Up Oklahoma” designed to resolve a legislative budget impasse.
Jim Beckel / The Oklahoman

Attorneys in the state’s sprawling opioid lawsuit have bragged that they slept on cots in their offices and went through millions of pages of evidence.

Kevin Stitt, candidate for the Republican nomination for Oklahoma Governor, speaks in Guthrie, Okla., Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Attorney General Mike Hunter approved Gov. Stitt’s conflict of interest plan late last week. Stitt submitted his plan in early January, focusing mostly on separating himself from Gateway Mortgage Group, the lending company he founded in 2000.

Gov. Kevin Stitt walks past an applauding crowd to take the podium for his first State of the State address at the Capitol.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

Gov. Kevin Stitt ran for office on his business acumen and background in building a national mortgage company. His recently filed financial disclosure forms provide a glimpse at how Stitt has invested some of his wealth.

States have different rules regarding in packaging for medical marijuana products.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Interim Health Commissioner Tom Bates told a group of lawmakers Wednesday a special legislative session is needed to fix gaps in the state’s new medical marijuana rules.

Sue Ogrocki/AP

In this episode of Capitol Insider, KGOU’s Dick Pryor and eCapitol’s Shawn Ashley discuss ongoing meetings about Oklahoma’s medical marijuana rules. They also give an update on the Oklahoma Ethics Commission’s lawsuit against Gov. Mary Fallin and other state officials ahead of its July 31 hearing in the state Supreme Court.

FULL TRANSCRIPT:

Dick Pryor: Shawn, the Oklahoma summer of marijuana continues with more developments in the regulation of medicinal marijuana.

 

A tank filled with liquid nitrogen is seen outside of an Oklahoma City business that sells nitrogen for various commercial uses.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

The condemned man enters the room where he will draw his last breath.

He will be restrained in some way, perhaps strapped to the T-shaped platform where other offenders have been executed by injection.

medical marijuana
David Trawin / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Oklahomans will have many legal questions about medical marijuana, but attorneys say existing rules might make it difficult to answer them. Marijuana is illegal at the federal, and rules of professional conduct in Oklahoma prohibit attorneys from counseling or assisting clients in criminal or fraudulent conduct.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter and state Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones at a press conference announcing the grand jury’s findings.
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The six-month investigation into financial mismanagement at the Oklahoma State Department of Health is complete — and no criminal charges will be filed.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

The colorless, odorless gas makes up 78 percent of our air.

Yet it is used in some assisted suicides in Europe. It is touted by some advocates for industry euthanasia of animals. And the gas – nitrogen – is what U.S. Air Force pilots are exposed to during high-altitude tests that gauge their reaction to reduced oxygen and can render them unconscious.

Now Oklahoma plans to use nitrogen in its death-penalty chamber.

 

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Drug overdose deaths in Oklahoma increased 91 percent over the last decade and a half, prompting the state to form a task force charged with a daunting goal: Brainstorm a plan to guide the state out of an opioid epidemic that kills three Oklahomans nearly every day.


Oklahoma Watch

The state’s multicounty grand jury is looking into allegations of financial mismanagement at the Oklahoma State Department of Health as top officers continue to resign or get forced out in the wake of the agency’s sudden cash crunch.