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Oklahoma entities to receive nearly $6 million to combat opioid crisis

This Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018 photo shows an arrangement of Oxycodone pills. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
This Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018 photo shows an arrangement of Oxycodone pills. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday that it has awarded nearly $6 million to Oklahoma groups to help combat the opioid crisis.

The Oklahoma grants are part of nearly $320 million in grant funds that are being distributed nationwide, Tulsa U.S. Attorney Trent Shores announced Monday.

The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will receive $1 million for a family drug courts research and evaluation program and $889,229 for enhancement of existing family drug courts. It also will receive $600,000 for new family drug courts and $485,786 for statewide drug courts.

Other grant recipients will include:

• The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control, which will get $750,000 to assist with its prescription drug monitoring program.

• The Muscogee (Creek) Nation, which will receive $943,088 to fund public safety, behavior health and public health information sharing partnerships.

• Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc., which will get $750,000 for programs to help youth impacted by the opioid crisis.

• Cleveland County, which will receive $250,000 for its adult drug court and $300,000 for its veterans drug court.

In 2017, more than 72,000 Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses, an increase from the 64,000 overdose deaths in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The majority of these deaths can be attributed to opioids, including illicit fentanyl and its analogues, officials said.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has a lawsuit pending against more than a dozen opioid manufacturers. Hunter has accused them of making fraudulent marketing claims that greatly understated the addictive risks of opioid painkillers while overstating the treatment benefits.

Randy Ellis

For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two... Read more ›