KGOU

drug abuse

Reveal: Too Many Pills

Oct 23, 2017
Photo illustration by Michael I Schiller for Reveal. Photo of pill bottle and hands by Frankie Leon via Flickr

Drug overdoses now are the leading cause of death among Americans under 50, largely thanks to a surge in opioid use. Although heroin and fentanyl have dominated the headlines in recent years, the problem started with a flood of prescription painkillers, distributed by some of the country’s biggest corporations.

Thomas Hawk / Flickr

Every other Thursday night, Parents Helping Parents meets in a room at the Norman Regional Hospital Education Center. The meetings consist of mostly adults gathered around a rectangular setup of tables in the middle of the room. People ranging from their mid 20s to their 60s are in attendance. Hugh Benson, a board member for the group, helps organize these twice-monthly meetings. 

baby toes
sabianmaggy / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services says hospitals in the state are reporting an increasing number of newborns who tested positive for drugs or alcohol at birth.

The Oklahoman reports the agency listed 375 addicted newborns in the 12-months ending June 30, the latest data available. Of those, 42 babies showed symptoms of withdrawal, which can include seizures, excessive crying, fever, sweating and vomiting.

The Wellness Clinic in Roland
Anny Sivilay / Sequoah County Times

The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs on Wednesday began presenting its case against a Sequoyah County doctor who it says prescribed 4.6 million doses of narcotics during 18 months in 2013 and 2014.

The administrative hearing against Dr. Ronald V. Myers Sr. was expected to continue all week and perhaps longer. The bureau is seeking to revoke Myers’ license to prescribe controlled dangerous substances in Oklahoma.

madpoet_one / Flickr Creative Commons

Drug overdoses caused by prescription drug abuse are a growing problem in rural Oklahoma.

The Oklahoman reports that while most overdoses occur in Oklahoma and Tulsa counties, rural counties in the state represent a growing segment of the prescription drug epidemic.

Craig County in northeastern Oklahoma has been the worst in the state in recent years in terms of drug overdoses, both fatal and nonfatal. For the past two years in which information is available, Craig County has posted the highest overdose rates per 10,000 residents in Oklahoma.