The leading cause of unintentional death in the U.S. is from drug overdoses, killing more than 64,000 people each year. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved three measures Wednesday authored by Sen. A.J. Griffin and Rep. Tim Downing to address the growing health epidemic. The bills were among the eight legislative recommendations made by the Oklahoma Commission on Opioid Abuse that Griffin created through legislation in 2016.
“Overdose deaths in Oklahoma have increased by 91 percent in the past 15 years, and 68 percent in the last decade. This is a public health crisis that is affecting not only our state but the nation. It’s tearing Oklahoma families apart,” said Griffin, R-Guthrie. “We must act quickly to do all we can to stop any more senseless deaths including getting the Commission on Opioid Abuse’s legislative recommendations enacted into law. I want to thank my colleagues for their support of these important measures.”
House Bill 2795 directs medical facility owners that prescribe certain drugs to patients on a monthly basis to register with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control (OBNDDC).
HB 2796 requires manufacturers and distributors who are required to register with the OBNDDC to provide the agency with all data required by federal law, rules and regulations beginning November 1, 2019.
HB 2798 creates an 18-member Opioid Overdose Fatality Review Board until July 1, 2023. The Board will conduct case reviews of opioid overdose deaths of individuals 18 years or older; collect, analyze and interpret state and local data on opioid deaths; and develop a state and local database on those deaths. The Board will submit an annual statistical report on the incidences and causes of the opioid overdose deaths it has reviewed including recommendations for the medical and law enforcement system.
This year, Griffin has filed six bills following the recommendations of the Commission. On Monday, Gov. Fallin signed Griffin’s SB 1078, the first bill recommended by the Commission. The new law, which goes into effect November 1, adds fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, to the list of drugs eligible for a felony trafficking charge, along with marijuana, cocaine, heroin, oxycodone and others.
The Commission made 31 recommendations in total but only eight required legislative authorization. The others are aimed at law enforcement, the medical community and other areas.
House Bills 2795, 2796 and 2798 will now go before the full Senate.