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Oklahoma

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The state has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country.
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Black Oklahomans are 50% more likely than white Oklahomans to die from maternity-related complications. Black babies in Oklahoma are almost 2.5 times more likely than white babies to die before their first birthday.
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While progress to address poor birth outcomes among Black Oklahomans has been slow, women are taking action themselves.
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While the cliffhanger presidential election took center stage Tuesday, voters also decided a host of health-related measures.
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In Oklahoma, ranked No. 1 for per capita female incarceration, kids were going missing from school because their mothers were locked up in county jail. "This was the most complicated story I’ve ever done," writes 2016 National Fellow Cary Aspinwall.
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Oklahoma's Tulsa County has essentially recreated a system of debtors’ prisons, critics say. Less noted, however, is what happens to the children when parents are locked up in county jail, whether for a few days or several months.

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“If you’re not able to provide food, it makes it difficult to feel like you’re living a dignified life,” researcher Darcy Freedman said. “It’s a basic need and the mental health implications are very real. ‘If I can’t provide food for my kids or partner, who am I?’”

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California is taking another run at requiring doctors to check a patient’s prescription history before prescribing potentially addictive drugs, with legislation passing the state senate yesterday. But will California legislators make the same kinds of compromises with providers that Oklahoma did?

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Oklahoma is one of only a handful of states that require physicians to check a patient’s prescription history before prescribing potentially addictive drugs. How did Oklahoma enact this requirement when so many other states, such as California, have tried and failed?

Picture of William Heisel

In April, the governor of Oklahoma signed a bill that requires doctors to check a state-run database of patients and prescriptions before writing a new prescription for addictive medications. That makes the state a national leader in efforts to track such prescriptions and curtail abuse.

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