Addicted Oklahoma: About This Project

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TX - Addicted Oklahoma bug closerPrescription painkillers are taking a quiet, devastating toll on the lives of Oklahomans.

More Oklahomans have died from drug overdoses than traffic accidents in recent years. Overdose deaths have risen sharply; traffic deaths continue to decline.

Oklahoma Watch and The Oklahoman are partnering to take a deeper look at this tragic problem, which affects so many people regardless of age, race, gender or income. The issue is complex, touching on public policy, the state’s poor health record, addictive behavior and financial gain.

As Dr. Hal Vorse, who runs an addiction clinic in Oklahoma City, told Oklahoma Watch reporter Warren Vieth, “This is one of the major public health issues of our time … The cost to society is just huge.”

As our coverage continues, we invite you to help. If you have a personal story, a story idea or an insight to share on the prescription painkillers, please email us at

Also, you can sign up for weekly email alerts about new stories at this link. To see all of the series, click on “Addicted Oklahoma” near the top of our home page. And, watch for upcoming tips — on how to help a loved one or friend who may be abusing prescription drugs, where to turn for help, what to do with unused painkiller pills, and more. The stakes are high.

David Fritze
Executive Editor
Oklahoma Watch