Oklahoma State University is taking a new step to combat the state's growing opioid epidemic.
"While it's important for policymakers to be smart on crime, you also have to be smart on funding treatment and rehabilitation," said Attorney General Mike Hunter.
They're expanding their Health Sciences Center to include a focus on wellness and recovery for opioid addicts.
Oklahoma is number 1 in the nation for non-medical use of prescription drugs, so OSU is partnering with non-profits to help put a stop to this epidemic.
“Addiction can affect anyone. It doesn't discriminate,” said Jarrod Armstrong.
Armstrong hurt his back and was given prescription pills for the pain.
After his surgery, he realized he couldn't stop taking them.
“From that point on I realized that I needed help,” said Armstrong.
Jarrod went to the 12 & 12 Addiction Recovery Center in Tulsa to help figure out a way to put a stop to his addiction.
“They just really opened my eyes to the disease of addiction and the ways to cope with it,” said Armstrong.
According to the Department of Mental Health, enough opioids were prescribed in Oklahoma for every adult to have 100 pills each in 2015.
And since 2013, there have been 1,300 newborns who have tested positive for substance abuse.
“Tragically the numbers in 2017 are trending so we are going to have twice as many infants born drug impacted than we had last year,” said Attorney General Hunter.
The OSU Center for Wellness and Recovery's mission is to help those who are addicted but also inspire people to become board certified in addiction medicine.
“With the creation of this fellowship of this program we will have two board-certified specialists in the state of Oklahoma every year,” said Dr. Jason Beaman D.O., Chair, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences,
Student researchers will also be able to work first hand with addicts in our community through a partnership with 12 & 12.
“We continue to partner and collaborate on the science of addiction and why people don't need to be ashamed,” said Brian Day, CEO of 12 & 12.
“Through providing evidence-based treatment services that will stop dependence and addiction, we can actually eradicate this problem,” said Commissioner Terri White, Oklahoma State Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.
Showing the need to invest in programs to help put a stop to this epidemic.
“The federal government and the state have to invest in treatment programs and having a facility like this. Having a program like this that's going to provide cutting-edge research and support for rehabilitation is critical,” said Attorney General Mike Hunter.
OSU also plans to open a free-standing addiction medical clinic at 12 & 12, so more people can come in to seek help.
There are also several other places in Tulsa that people can seek help for an opioid addiction, including Counseling and Recovery Services of Oklahoma.
Also during the game on Saturday, OU and OSU players will wear "stop opioids" decals on their helmets to help bring awareness to the issue.