Prosecutors Say Opioid Overdoses On The Rise In Eastern Oklahoma

Sunday, June 13th 2021, 9:50 pm
By: Jordan Tidwell

TULSA, Oklahoma -

Prosecutors said opioid overdoses are becoming an epidemic in eastern Oklahoma. 

In the last couple months, District 27 attorney for Adair, Cherokee, Sequoyah and Wagoner counties Jack Thorp said they've seen 10 deaths from opioid overdoses in the four counties combined.

In most cases, Thorp said opioids are being laced with fentanyl. 

"We've seen it in methamphetamine,” Thorp said. “They mix it together and it's highly lethal. People are dying.”

Thorp said the state has been working with ThinkSmart Oklahoma, a group educating Oklahomans on the opioid crisis and providing resources to help end it. 

Wagoner County Sheriff Chris Elliott said when drugs are laced with fentanyl, it can also be harmful to deputies. 

"Fentanyl is a very toxic drug,” Elliott said. “It's very potent. It's so bad that, a lot of times, even the deputies and the investigators get contaminated with it and they go down as well.”  

Counties in Eastern Oklahoma are also partnering with the Cherokee Nation to make sure all deputies are trained on how to use Narcan. 

"We can apply that Narcan immediately and, a lot of the times, we are able to save a life with it," Elliott said. 

Thorp said both prosecutors and members of law enforcement are working hard to put an end to the problem.

"One of the things that we're going to do is we're going to investigate these deaths and, if we can find out who the supplier is, then hopefully we can charge them with first degree murder," Thorp said. 

When an overdose happens, Thorp said it's crucial for investigators to collect evidence at the scene to help prosecute suppliers.