(KTEN) — The State of Oklahoma is outlining a plan to use taxpayer funds to fight the opioid epidemic.

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond said the ball got rolling during a meeting with his counterpart at the federal level, Attorney General Merrick Garland.

"He said, 'Drummond, you know Oklahoma is ground zero for fentanyl production and distribution throughout the United States,'" Drummond recalled.

The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics reports nearly 800 opioid-related deaths in Oklahoma in 2022.

To combat the epidemic, the Opioid Abatement Board, through the Oklahoma Attorney General's office, plans to roll out $23 million of budgeted taxpayer money to school districts, municipalities and counties to educate, rehabilitate and prevent the spread of dangerous illegal drugs.

"Our young people need to know: Every pill will kill," Drummond said. "We need this educational protocol out into every school district, every community, so that anybody buying illicit drugs on the street has to know. Test it or you will die."

The Abatement Board has received 250 letters of intent vying for a portion of the $23 million.

In south central Oklahoma, Carter County, Love County, the City of Hugo, and Tishomingo Public Schools are just some of the applicants.

"What we would do, really, is to look at education for our students, provide counseling services," said TPS Superintendent Bobby Waitman. "Students that may be coming from environments in any given district where there is usage in the home, among their friends."

Drummond said the best ways to fight the opioid epidemic in Oklahoma are through education and the work of law enforcement, shutting down distribution networks.