The Edmond Sun

Local News

February 25, 2013

Senate passes mental health agency certification legislation

McAlester — Legislation allowing Oklahoma’s mental health agency to certify recovery centers such as Narconon Arrowhead was unanimously passed by the Oklahoma Senate last week.

Narconon Arrowhead is a nonprofit drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Canadian.

Last August, after several deaths and lawsuits at Narconon Arrowhead, Sen. Tom Ivester, D-Elk City, said he would work with officials at Oklahoma’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to author legislation aimed at “regulating questionable practices” at the facility.

An investigation of the Narconon Arrowhead organization was prompted by the July 19 death of Stacy Dawn Murphy, 20, of Owasso, by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, the Pittsburg County Sheriff’s Office and the mental health department. The investigation later expanded to include three other deaths, those of Hillary Holten, 21, who was found dead at Narconon Arrowhead in April; Gabriel Graves, 32, who died at the facility in October, and Kaysie Dianne Werninck, 28, who died in 2009 while she was a patient of the facility. Werninck was not at the Arrowhead facility a the time of her death.

District 7 State Sen. Larry Boggs said he voted for the bill Tuesday.

“I think over all the bill is a good one, but it will need some oversight,” said the legislator, whose district includes McAlester and the area in which Narconon Arrowhead is located, near Canadian.

“I think we came as close as we can for the people it will affect.”

In November, Murphy’s autopsy report revealed that she had died of an accidental overdose.

With that information, the investigation was handed over to District 18 District Attorney Farley Ward who has said he will a make the decision about whether criminal charges would be filed in connection with the deaths. Several phone calls to Ward’s cell phone Friday and Saturday were not returned.

Meanwhile, in January, Sen. Ivester introduced Senate Bill 295 which broadens the scope of what the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services can do. Currently Narconon Arrowhead does not have to be certified under the agency. If it becomes law, Sen. Ivester’s bill would amend the current law so that the ODMHSSA could also certify recovery centers such as Narconon.

Meanwhile, back in August soon after Murphy was found dead at the facility, Ivester said he believed the state could impose strict regulations of “unorthodox drug treatment programs, like the one being run at Narconon Arrowhead that requires patients to endure five hours of extreme heat in a sauna and taking questionable doses of the vitamin Niacin.”

Ivester said, “There are proven treatment regimens to help people deal with the illness of addiction and we have a duty to ensure that programs being offered within the borders of Oklahoma are strongly regulated to ensure the utmost safety for these vulnerable patients and their families.”

The legislation must now be passed by the House of Representative before it becomes law.

Rep. Brian Renegar, D-McAlester, said he hasn’t read the legislation yet and couldn’t say how he will vote on it. He did said Narconon is going through the process of certification to become approved by the state mental health board.

“I have talked to Sen. Ivester about the bill and I feel (the bill) would be redundant,” Renegar said. “By the time it becomes law, Narconon will be approved by the board.”

He also said he felt that Narconon was taking steps to change its policies. And, since the deaths at the facility, he said a close family member of his has used the Narconon program.

District 18 State Rep. Donnie Condit. D-McAlester, said he is all for making drug rehab facilities safer.

“If I had to vote on the bill today,” Condit said, “I would vote for it.”

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • earth day 7.jpg Central community learns about water conservation

    Edmond residents know about rain that falls from their roofs after a storm. Some may not know what kind of important role it plays in the nation’s water supply.
    Tim Tillman, the University of Central Oklahoma’s sustainability coordinator, said UCO has a tradition of innovation in sustainable practices. Tillman said Earth Day, first brought to the campus more than 20 years ago, began that tradition.
    During Tuesday’s Earth Day Fair, Jason Summers, a Coca-Cola account manager for on-premise sales, was giving away rain barrels and educating members of the Central Oklahoma community about the benefits of rain barrels.

    April 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • pic 2.JPG Energy secretary touts CNG fleet conversion

    Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment Michael Teague said the state is leading the way in converting its fleet of vehicles to run on compressed natural gas.
    And, he adds, the state is working to get federal officials engaged in moving its fleet of vehicles in Oklahoma to use CNG.
    Teague made those statements Tuesday during a visit to Champion CNG, 13915 N. Harvey Ave. in Edmond. The visit also coincided with Earth Day.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 3 Senate candidates say no to Sharia law

    Whether to deport non-citizen Muslim men in the U.S. who believe violence is justified by Sharia law was a question asked to three of the seven Republicans running for the U.S. Senate.
    The Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee hosted a debate recently in Oklahoma City. The office is being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn.
    Congressman James Lankford said Great Britain has experimented with allowing certain pockets of their nation to function under Sharia law.

    April 22, 2014

  • MS_weather graphic.jpg Local forecast includes multiple severe weather days

    Severe thunderstorms will be possible in the area Wednesday and during the weekend.
    The National Weather Service says severe storms are expected to develop near a dryline across western Oklahoma down into Texas late Wednesday afternoon. Primary concerns will be very large hail and damaging wind gusts.
    During the evening and overnight hours, the storms are expected to form a squall line and move east into central portions of the state. As this occurs, the main threat will become damaging straight-line winds.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Authorities make 8th arrest in Logan Co. homicide

    Authorities have arrested an eighth suspect in a homicide which involved the discovery of a badly burned body along a Logan County road.
    On Jan. 31, firefighters were dispatched to a grass fire in a rural area located south of State Highway 33 between Langston and Guthrie, Logan County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Richard Stephens stated in a previous report. While extinguishing the fire, firefighters discovered a badly burned male body, Stephens said.

    April 22, 2014

  • Citizens Caring for Children to participate in 1-mile walk

    Citizens Caring for Children will join thousands of Oklahomans on Saturday for the fourth annual Walk a Mile in My Shoes foster care awareness walk. The 1-mile walk will take place at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, 2 S. Mickey Mantle Drive, Oklahoma City, from 9-11 a.m.

    April 22, 2014

  • Police report home burglary outbreak in Edmond

    Police said they are seeking the public’s help in identifying a suspect linked to a string of residential burglaries with common occurrences.

    April 22, 2014

  • 4-22 Good Reads

    NOTE: Email dpeery@edmondsun.com to have your name entered into a drawing for “The Noisy Paint Box.” Deadline is 10 a.m. April 28. Winner will be notified by return email. Winner is responsible for picking up the book at The Edmond Sun at 123 S. Broadway. All entrants must be 18 or older to win.

    April 22, 2014

  • Pom UCO Cheer, Pom finish big at Nationals

    The University of Central Oklahoma’s cheer and pom squads traveled to Daytona Beach, Fla., April 10-12 for the National Cheerleaders Association and National Dance Alliance College Nationals, bringing home second place trophies in All-Girl Cheer, Dance Hip Hop and Dance Team Division II, and fourth place in Coed Intermediate Cheer.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • UCO presents Missouri poet laureate for reading

    The University of Central Oklahoma’s College of Liberal Arts will host a poetry reading from William Trowbridge, poet laureate for Missouri, 7:30 p.m. April 29 in Pegasus Theater in the Liberal Arts building on Central’s campus.

    April 21, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Video
Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Jenna Dewan-Tatum Strips Down Rise of the Milkbots TRENDING: Brian Williams Raps 'Gin and Juice' on ‘Tonight Show’ Middle School heroes rescue students from burning bus WHOPPER OF FISHING STORY: Florida man catches massive Mako shark Maks Chmerkovskiy's "DWTS" Meltdown The many faces of Mike Woodson Ape Builds A Fire And Toasts Marshmallows In Amazing BBC Video Manchester Utd sack manager David Moyes "RHOA's" Dramatic Brawl High school, College Drug Ring Busted In Montgomery County High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Raw: Keflezighi, Jeptoo Win Boston Marathon Teen hitchhikes in wheel well of flight from California to Hawaii Lindsay Lohan's Jaw-Dropping Secret President Sends Message To Boston And Marathon Runners LA Pastor Attracts Churchgoers with Pot Lauren Stoner Shows Off Her Incredible Bikini Body
Poll

Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

Agree
Disagree
Undecided
     View Results