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Oklahoma district attorney's initiative looks to reduce overdose deaths

Posted at 4:07 PM, Apr 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-07 12:07:42-04

TULSA, Okla. — An Oklahoma district attorney says drug overdoses in the state are on the rise, and it's time for local agencies to step in.

“I have seen this incredible increase in these drug-related deaths, and I want to do something about it, that’s why I'm here. I want to stop the deaths," says District Attorney Jack Thorp.

Thorp's district covers Adair, Cherokee, Sequoyah, and Wagoner counties.

Thorp says he has seen a rapid increase in drug overdose deaths in his district. In just two years, 70 families in District 27 lost a loved one to a drug overdose.

Thorp says one specific drug is mostly to blame.

“What we’ve seen, the use of fentanyl as a cutting agent for street drugs is that the overdose drugs has rapidly increased," he says.

He says Oklahoma law can be used to prosecute drug dealers whose product kills Oklahomans.

“What I'm trying to do is engage law enforcement to help me make a difference and stop these drug overdose deaths.”

In Thorp’s plan, he will partner with local law enforcement agencies, first responders, drug task force agents, and prosecutors. He says overdose deaths will not be investigated just as thoroughly as other crime scenes.

“When they get to the scene, many times it’s an apparent overdose death. And it's at that point, law enforcement needs to put on the law enforcement hat, and start investigating that scene as a murder scene."

Thorp says the goal is to find the dealers who sold the drugs to the deceased, work the case from there, and hopefully find the supplier to that dealer.

"When we get the investigations, we intend to prosecute those individuals for first-degree felony murder.”

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