Ardmore – Oklahoma is the epicenter of the nation’s opioid epidemic. In Carter County alone, 40 people died of unintentional prescription opioid overdose from 2013 to 2017, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

An estimated 1,900 Oklahomans have died from opioid abuse. The estimated cost to address the epidemic in Oklahoma is $17 billion dollars. Area and state addiction experts, local law enforcement, Oklahoma Mental Health and Substance Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration are partnering with the nationally recognized OSU Center for Health Sciences Center for Wellness & Recovery to address an Opioid Epidemic Response to the alarming overuse of opioid painkillers.

Ardmore is one of four Oklahoma communities selected for the seven-day event as part of a $1.4 million dollar grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Oklahoma State Department of Health designed to combat the misuse of opioid painkillers.

The highlight of the event will be an interactive town hall meeting on Friday night, August 16, featuring panelists Mendy Spohn, the Regional Director for Oklahoma State Department of Health County Health Departments including Carter, Johnston, Love, Marshall, Stephens, Pontotoc and Jefferson Counties; Drug Enforcement Administration Assistant Special Agent in Charge John P. Scott; Stephanie Morcom, Outreach Coordinator for Ambrosia Treatment Center and Jackie Shipp, Oklahoma State Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Senior Director.

The event will provide community resource booths such as addiction-related health screenings, and children’s art and education centers that will be open daily along with workshops focused on understanding the opioid epidemic; alternative pain treatments; red flags of addiction; the co-dependency of opioid use, tobacco and mental illness; parenting children of addiction and much more.  

“The purpose of the Opioid Epidemic Response is to provide an educational community event that brings together a broad spectrum of community members, health care providers, addiction experts and civic and business leaders to learn about this crisis and how to fight it,” said Julie Croff, Ph.D., M.P.H, executive director of, OSU Center for Wellness & Recovery.

The Opioid Epidemic Response runs from August 12 to 18 at the Ardmore Convention Center, 2401 N. Rockford Road in Ardmore. There will be free food and door prizes for the first attendees. For a schedule of events and to register for the free community event – visit

The OSU Center for Wellness & Recovery provides comprehensive care for those suffering from addiction while advancing treatment through education, research and policy.