OKLAHOMA CITY -- State Rep. Cyndi Munson hosted an interim study today focused on the public health risks connected to Loperamide in connection to opioid abuse.
Loperamide is a drug found in over the counter medications such as Imodium A-D. The drug is often sought out by people suffering from opioid withdrawal, but the large quantities of Loperamide necessary to provide temporary relief from withdrawals can cause severe and even fatal side effects.
“I was completely unfamiliar until a constituent's family member died due to misuse of Loperamide,” Munson said. “The opioid epidemic has created multiple side-effects that we are going to have to deal with as lawmakers and as a society. Loperamide misuse may seem small compared to other epidemic side effects, but it is costing lives. This study took a look at this problem and solutions to fix it.”
Joel Hild, the constituent who brought the issue to Munson’s attention, lost his son to Loperamide misuse while he was recovering from a substance abuse disorder.
“When the medical examiner told us Loperamide was the only drug in his system, I was shocked,” Hild said. “Through my research since my son died, I understand that this drug does have a need. I’m not here to get rid of it. I just want it to be treated similarly as Sudafed.”
Unfortunately due to a lack of a statewide or national database and the relative recency of Loperamide misuse, hard data on the number of deaths due to overdose is hard to find.
“The big takeaway from this study for me is that there is a desire by everyone, including manufacturers of Loperamide, to increase education and possibly even controls to help prevent someone from misusing this drug,” Munson said. “I want to thank all of the stakeholders involved in today’s study, and I look forward to working with each of them to continue making progress on this issue.”
The study presenters were Jermaine Galloway, Tall Cop Says Stop; Interim Commissioner of Mental Health Carrie Slatton-Hodges; Joel Hild, District 85 Resident; Carlos Gutierrez and Mike Tringale, Consumer Health Products Association; Oklahoma Chief Forensic Toxicologist Dr. Byron Curtis.