STILLWATER — Oklahoma City and state leaders recently met to discuss building a facility to address the problem of addiction, the state health commissioner said Tuesday.
Health Commissioner Terry Cline said at the state health board meeting that the hope is to create a state-of-the-art facility that takes a holistic approach in looking at the health of individuals and families.
“Right now, across the state, there’s a waiting list of about 600 people for substance abuse treatment, so clearly (there are) not enough substance abuse services,” Cline said.
The center would potentially be in Oklahoma City, based on its central location not only in the state but also the country, Cline said.
A range of people has been involved in the discussion, including hospital system officials and city and public health leaders.
Oklahoma ranks No. 1 in the rate of prescription pain drug abuse and has ranked high on the list for methamphetamine abuse. Addiction costs the state and its residents an estimated $7.2 billion, including $1.8 billion in direct costs.
Also at the meeting, the board elected Dr. R. Murali Krishna as its next president. Krishna is the president and CEO of Integris Mental Health.
Dr. Jenny Alexopulos was the board’s previous president. She will remain on the board as a member, for her term expires in June 2014. Alexopulos is the chair of the Department of Family Medicine and associate professor of Family Medicine with the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine.
The Rev. Alfred Baldwin Jr. will finish his term as a state health board member at the end of June. Baldwin is the pastor of the First Missionary Baptist Church in Enid and is a retired science teacher with Enid Public Schools.
Tim Starkey, executive director of the Great Salt Plains Health Center in Cherokee, will join the board in July.