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opioid crisis

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.

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.

Taylyr Williams, 27, sits on her bed in Oxford House Elmhurst in Norman, where she has lived since January. Williams is one of only 40 Oxford House residents statewide taking medication prescribed to treat opioid addiction.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

Addiction-recovery homes across Oklahoma are turning away people who are trying to escape opioid addiction by taking medications considered highly effective for recovery.

Dr. William Yarborough, right, speaks with patient Richard Potts at the Oklahoma Pain and Wellness Center in Tulsa.
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

William Yarborough walks across the hall from his office to an exam room. His Hawaiian shirt and matching khaki pants aren’t the typical doctor’s garb.

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.

Acting U.S. Attorney Bob Troester announced indictments against the five Oklahomans, Thursday.
Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Western District of Oklahoma announced indictments Thursday against three Oklahoma doctors, a pharmacist and a businesswoman on more than 200 counts of federal charges for health care fraud and writing illegal prescriptions. 

Two of the doctors face charges for five deaths that prosecutors claim resulted from their alleged illegal distribution of drugs.

Oklahoma Opioid Deaths Continue To Rise

Mar 7, 2018
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

New data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests drug overdose deaths declined in some states — but not in Oklahoma.

Nurse practitioner Rachel Mack examines a patient at Family Health Care & Minor Emergency Clinic in Warr Acres.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

A change in federal law in 2014 made it more difficult for advanced practice registered nurses to provide pain relief for patients. The law effectively removed nurses’ ability to prescribe schedule 2 drugs, such as hydrocodone.

In Search of New Ways To Tame Opioid Crisis

Sep 18, 2017
Images Money / Flickr

Oklahoma is among the nation’s leaders in combating the opioid epidemic in some ways, but lags in others.

The question of what more Oklahoma can do to reduce the hundreds of fatal overdoses from prescription painkillers each year will hover over the 2018 legislative session. A commission chaired by Attorney General Mike Hunter plans to recommend by Dec. 1 new strategies for attacking the problem. Some or all of its proposals will be folded into legislation.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter is suing more than a dozen U.S. drug manufacturers.

Oklahoma County Jail, via KOKH

A Midwest City doctor has been arrested on five counts of second-degree murder for prescribing unnecessary and lethal amounts of drugs to her patients.