Make Drug Testing Mandatory for Staff of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics. #DrugTestOBN
This petition had 197 supporters
We, the people of the State of Oklahoma, do hereby demand that the State of Oklahoma make the requirement that all agents, staff members, associates and administrators of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics & Dangerous Drugs be tested for drug use and alcohol use as a condition of employment and continued employment, on a regular and frequent schedule, in light of recent embarrassing revelations which undermine the credibility and the mission of this organization.
The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics & Dangerous Drugs (OBN) is responsible for controlling and ending drug abuse, drug diversion and overdose deaths according to its mission statement.
The OBN website states in its message from its Director, Darrell Weaver, that the OBN is a “multi-faceted agency that is the national model and leader in the robust dynamic environment of drug enforcement.”
The facts, evidence and statistics suggest otherwise:
Oklahomans are dying in record numbers due to drug overdose.
Oklahoma ranks in the top five in the nation for the number of unintentional deaths per capita (18.6 deaths per 100,000 population) according to the CDC.
Under the present leadership, the number of overdose deaths have increased steadily at approximately 12% per year since 2006. This is not the "national model and leader" of which we can be proud.
Policy initiatives to restrict allergy medicine to curb methamphetamine synthesis and use, spearheaded by the OBN, led to an increase in deaths due to overdose from street methamphetamine/Mexican ice, one year after enactment (Tulsa World article).
Unfortunately, failed policy initiatives having disastrous consequences were not the only reason to question the judgement of the OBN administrators and officials.
-In December 1992, The Oklahoman reported in “Drug Agent Tells of JoyRides” that several agents and staff members, including then OBN Property Manager Melton Edmisten, were convicted of joyriding on confiscated equipment and borrowing seized equipment for home use. Some of the activities occurred on the closing day of a Marijuana Education Program held by the OBN. Despite his termination, Edmisten was quietly re-hired by the OBN and remained on its employee rolls for many years. Agent Mark Stewart, who was also featured in this article, is now the Chief Investigator at the OBN.
-In October 2015, The Oklahoman reported additional discipline and firings of multiple attendees of an OBN Training Program at Camp Gruber, which among other things involved the drunken, sexual escapades of an law enforcement officer. The drunken officer entered the female barracks and had sexual relations with a female student. A video recording of one of the women compromised in the situation, was circulated among law enforcement officials, leading to a subsequent domestic disturbance at her home. This information only became public after an Open Records Act request was made by The Oklahoman. OBN did not disclose this information. OBN is also the State Agency charged with protecting women from Human Sex Trafficking, yet it was unable to protect its female students from violation at their 10-day conference. The grant to finance this training program was provided by the DEA (Federal Funds).
-OBN Spokesman Mark Woodward, who operates the official Facebook page for the OBN, has been criticized when (mis)using and advancing false Biblical Scripture on Social Media to justify OBN policy. In so doing, he needlessly engaged the 'likes' of the ACLU into potentially unnecessary and expensive litigation. The uproar about this situation prompted an investigation. Woodward has also been quoted in articles saying that such things as marijuana is a bigger threat and concern and has "wrecked more lives" than other drugs like meth, heroin, cocaine and prescription narcotics. Statistics do not bear out this statement he made and asserted as fact. A News Channel 4 story in September 2015 questioned Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin about the controversy. She referred the inquiry to the Office Management and Enterprise Services who revealed that Mark Woodard's social media posts on the OBN Facebook page “are not consistent with the state's Social Media Policy” and were “in violation of the State's Social Media Policy”. They also mention that the OBN was operating this Facebook page without ever having the page approved by the State. Further, they had not even submitted it to their office for review as required.
-In a recent article published in The Oklahoman (Oct 18, 2015), OBN spokesman Mark Woodward was quoted as saying “OBN and state law does not require or mandate urine testing, random pill counts or assessment of patients regarding the medication they take ”. Without requiring these things, doctors and prescribers have absolutely no way of determining medication safety and patient compliance. And by stating this, Spokesman Woodward gave drug dealers and doctor shoppers a FREE PASS to divert prescription medications to the streets and to our children, since they now know that doctors are under no obligations to perform urine tests and pill counts.
-Robert Don Vogt, the administrator of the OBN's Prescription Montoring Program (PMP) Database, a database designed to curb doctor-shopping, drug diversion, and dangerous prescribing practices, acknowledged under oath at a recent hearing that doctors are able to subvert the process. He suggested that doctors are able to leave the impression that they are properly monitoring their patients who may be abusing their medicines by 'checking' the database when they are really not. If what Mr. Vogt said was true, this very expensive, tax-payer funded program is worthless in preventing drug diversion and doctor-shopping. By admitting this, but failing to offer any type of remedy, he is simply collecting a paycheck for doing essentially nothing.
-A OSCN database search of agents and employees of OBN has revealed a number of traffic infractions and lawsuits for failure to meet financial obligations, placing into question their ability to follow the laws that the rest of us, who are not protected by our working for a law enforcement agency, are required to follow.
-The OBN collects tons of unused narcotic prescription medications from medication drop boxes around the State of Oklahoma. In a recent hearing, Chief OBN Investigator, Agent Mark Stewart testified under oath that medications they may collect are not logged or documented. This allows those narcotic medications to be intercepted by members in the chain of custody, which would include only employees and agents of the OBN. This is a serious risk of diversion, that they are failing to minimize, correct and eliminate.
In light of past examples of the failure to implement policy that curbs drug abuse and overdose deaths in the State of Oklahoma, documented incidents of inappropriate behavior and exercise of bad and questionable judgement, attempts to cover up incidents of wrongdoing, their access to tons of returned prescription medications with no concern of documentation to prevent diversion, we call for Governor Mary Fallin and our State Senators and Representatives of the State of Oklahoma to require mandatory, regular and frequent testing of members of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics & Dangerous Drugs, including the director, administrators, agents, staff counsel and all associated employees.
While we test factory workers, truck drivers and store clerks, and have even discussed initiatives in our state to require drug testing of medicaid recipients, public officials like those serving in OBN, whose jobs are critical in curbing drug abuse and rates of death to drug overdose in Oklahoma, should not be exempt.
Oklahomans demand both standards and accountability for those who are responsible for enforcing the drug laws in our state.
The only way we can possibly win the War on Drugs in Oklahoma is to take it seriously. This requirement would be the first good step in the right direction.
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