DEA Data Shows Extent Of Opioid Crisis In Okla.
OKLAHOMA CITY - Newly released data from the Drug Enforcement Agency has revealed the devastating amount of prescription painkillers doled out to Oklahomans at the height of the nationwide opioid crisis.
The new numbers, detailed and compiled by the Washington Post, show between 2006 and 2012 more than 1.4 billion pills were given to Oklahomans. To put that into some perspective, Oklahoma's entire population is about 4 million, meaning if every Oklahoman age 1 to 100 were given an opioid prescription for those years each person would have been given 582 pills a year.
The numbers also go deeper to the county level. The worst counties were Stephens, Beckham and Jefferson counties where residents were given 83, 84 and 92 pills per year, respectively.
In Oklahoma County, the state’s most populous county, enough opioids were prescribed to give each resident about 61 pills a year. County commissioners in Oklahoma Co. just approved the ability to take drug makers to court to sue for damages stemming from the prescription drug epidemic.
A judge presiding over the state's case against Johnson and Johnson is expected to take about a month to make his ruling after arguments wrapped up last week where state attorneys called the pharmaceutical giant the “king pin” of the opioid crisis, likening the company’s marketing tactics to dealing illegal drugs.
Johnson and Johnson is denying the accusations made against them by the state. The data also shows the top manufacturers and distributors. Among them, both Teva and Purdue Pharmaceuticals. Those drug makers settled the suits brought against them by the state for a combined $355 million dollars. In the Johnson and Johnson suit the state is asking for 17.5 half billion.