Lights outside the building will remain purple through the weekend
OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter today announced the lights outside of the Attorney General’s Office in Oklahoma City will turn purple from Friday night through the weekend in observance of International Overdose Awareness Day and in remembrance of Oklahomans who have died from an overdose.
International Overdose Awareness Day is an annual global event held Aug. 31 and aims to raise awareness of overdose deaths worldwide. It also acts to remember those who have died due to an overdose, recognize their loved ones who are left grieving and encourage those currently suffering with an addiction to seek help.
Since taking office last February, Attorney General Hunter has made combating the state’s overdose addiction epidemic one of his top priorities. He has taken action, through the Oklahoma Commission on Opioid Abuse, by suing the nation’s leading manufacturers of opioid pain medication and by prosecuting drug dealers, whose criminal enterprises have led to overdose deaths, as well as doctors, who recklessly abuse their prescribing authority.
Attorney General Hunter said his office is proud to participate in campaigns like International Overdose Awareness Day that draws attention to a growing problem our state and nation is facing.
“The decision to light up the outside of the office in purple is two-fold,” Attorney General Hunter said. “First, I want every Oklahoman who has lost a loved one to an overdose or is struggling with addiction, to know my heart goes out to them. Second, I want it to serve as a reminder that my office remains steadfast in providing solutions to the crisis we are facing.
“We are taking steps in the right direction, but we also recognize more is needed. My commitment to Oklahomans is that my team and I will be relentless in our efforts. One death due to an overdose is too many. I appreciate everyone across the world who is participating in today’s observance.”
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2017 there were more than 72,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States. The sharpest increase occurred among deaths related to fentanyl and fentanyl analogs (synthetic opioids) with nearly 30,000 overdose deaths.
In 2016, Oklahomans died from overdoses at a rate of 21.5 for every 100,000. The Trust for America's Health recently projected in a worst case scenario that if the state stays at its current population, Oklahoma could have as many as 31.7 deaths from drug overdoses for every 100,000 people in 2025.