Rep. Morrissette to guide four interim studies with “health and safety” focus
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Published: 17-Jul-2012
 
If there is a common thread among this year’s interim study submissions by state Representative Richard Morrissette, and Oklahoma City Democrat, it would be ‘health and safety’. Four of those important requests met with approval by Speaker of the House Kris Steele, a Shawnee Republican who will leave office this winter. 

One of Morrissette’s studies is 12-028, Correlation of State’s #1 Ranking for Opiate RX Abuse to DUID (Driving under the influence of Drugs).

“This interim, we will look at how many innocent Oklahomans have paid the price in traffic fatalities and life-altering injuries resulting from DUID,” said Morrissette.

Last session, Morrissette took on what he describes as “the most threatening epidemic”: abuse of prescription opiates. One-in-three licensed physicians in Oklahoma fail to reference the PMP, a computer monitoring program designed to identify “doctor shoppers”, and, as a result, the state has rapidly climbed to rank #1 in the nation for opiate RX abuse. Morrissette contends this statistic is important on many levels as implications from abuse are far reaching.

He explained, “Experts will testify before the committee in the area of per se or zero tolerance drugged driving law and effective use of the PMP.  Other states are facing the fact that DUID impacts health care costs, law enforcement and dwindling funding for recovery programs.”

He continued, “So, are we testing those in traffic accidents for RX toxicity often enough, especially those involved in fatal crashes? Do physicians referencing the PMP have adequate notification from the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs that they have a ‘doctor shopper’ for a patient? Can we reduce related costs to save lives and property if we can answer these questions?”

Morrissette concluded, “I hope we are able to demonstrate just how linked together physicians, patients, law enforcement and first responders become within the DUID process and how the public is asked repeatedly to bear the burden.”
 
Other studies by Morrissette include 12-059, a look at veteran’s homes and the potential for improving conditions, 12-044, redirecting unserved restaurant food to the hungry and 12-034, providing certificate training to inmates who harvest the costly Eastern Red Cedar.

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