OK Lawmakers Lead Charge To Find Solution For Opioid Epidemic

Tuesday, May 1st 2018, 5:54 pm

Oklahoma lawmakers are leading the charge to find a solution for the prescription painkiller epidemic that's gripping Oklahoma and the entire nation.

Senator Jim Inhofe and Congressman Markwayne Mullin were in Claremore Tuesday, talking specifically about how to prevent opioid addiction among veterans.

The Department of Veteran's Affairs is one of the nation's biggest prescribers of painkillers. Inhofe and Mullin said twice as many veterans are addicted to pain pills compared to the general public, and dosages are the problem.

"The prescription they’ve been using is an overdose and it’s created the problem.  So, the overdose is worse than the pain they started with,” Inhofe said.

At Roger's State University Tuesday, the lawmakers talked about a new bill that will be introduced this month on Capitol Hill.  Mullin said the measure is designed to bring attention to the amount of prescription painkillers being handed out by the V.A.

"Every year we’re going to run a test throughout the V.A.  Look at all the doctors, what they prescribe, and the top ten percent of the doctors that prescribe pain medicine, they’ve got to get additional training,” he said.

Inhofe said the additional training will focus on teaching doctors about tolerance and correct dosages of the drugs they're prescribing.

The lawmakers said the bill is just one piece of the puzzle in the fight to curb painkiller addictions.