Advocates say more is needed to combat Oklahoma's addiction scourge (NewsOK)

Advocates gave the Oklahoma Legislature a mediocre score on addressing the state's addiction scourge.

While there were some victories in this year's session, failure of several criminal justice reform measures to make it to the governor's desk was a huge loss, they said. Those bills were, in part, meant to keep as many nonviolent drug abusers out of prison as possible.

“To be honest, a lot of the things that would help people with addiction were the criminal justice bills,” said Julia Jernigan, executive director of the Oklahoma Behavioral Health Association.

Specifically, there was Senate Bill 689, which would give courts more options to divert people away from prison and into treatment and supervision programs. That measure and three others were set aside in the last week of the legislative session and can't be considered again until next year, despite public pleas from Gov. Mary Fallin and other supporters.

“There were some good things that were passed, but there is always more to be done,” Jernigan said.

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