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Oklahoma Receives Grant To Fight Prescription Drug Overdose Deaths

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Prescription drug overdoses kill more Oklahomans than car crashes. Prescription drug overdoses kill more Oklahomans than car crashes.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Prescription drug overdoses kill more Oklahomans than car crashes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls it an epidemic, and now, Oklahoma will receive a grant to help fight the problem.

Oklahoma will get $820,000 and is one of 16 states receiving grant money.

Prescription drug abuse is Oklahoma's fastest growing drug problem.

Oklahoma ranks eighth in the nation for drug overdose death rates, 49 percent higher than the national rate.

“We are calling it an epidemic,” said Sheryll Brown with the Oklahoma State Health Department’s Injury Prevention Services.

The $820,000 grant will help the state educate providers about over-prescribing and patients about abusing those drugs.

“We need to control pain,” Brown said. “It's not to take away from people that need to have their pain controlled, but looking at ways to do that more effectively."

Some of the money will help the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics improve the prescription drug monitoring program.

It is a statewide database that tracks all prescriptions for controlled substances.

The money will also help make sure all EMS personnel eventually carry Naloxone.

The nasal spray works on both prescription painkiller and heroin overdoses.

Back in 2011, OU football standout Austin Box died of a prescription drug overdose.

His mom now backs the Naloxone initiative.

Drug overdose is the leading cause of injury-related death in Oklahoma.

More overdose deaths involve prescription painkillers than alcohol and all illicit drugs combined.

From 2007 to 2012, 3,075 Oklahomans died from prescription drug overdose.

The 35 to 54 age-group has the highest rate of prescription overdoses and it is more common among men than women

“If it has outranked motor vehicle crashes, then we have a lot of families that are touched by this,” Brown told News 9.

Starting Nov. 1, doctors and health care providers will be required to check the prescription drug monitoring program before prescribing to anyone.

Right now, only pharmacies are required to do it when someone comes to fill a prescription.

For more information on overdose prevention in Oklahoma, visit the state health department's website about unintentional poisoning and Take As Prescribed's website.   and

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