Prescription drug abuse on the rise in Oklahoma

By: Amanda Brown Email
By: Amanda Brown Email

DURANT, OK- A new report shows prescription drug abuse is killing people in Oklahoma at an alarming rate. Now, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics is working to change that. Amanda Brown spoke with a recovering addict about her prescription drug addiction and why it's so important to reverse this trend.

Vicki Carter is a recovering addict. Her prescription drug abuse started in 2007 after her gastric bypass surgery when she was prescribed Lortab. Eventually, she was taking up to sixty pills a day.

"You have to have it when you take so many of them your body just craves it," she said.

O.B.N. said there's been a 108 percent increase in drug deaths over the past ten years, 715 this year alone and 81 percent of them involved at least one prescription drug. Carter said prescription drugs are far worse than street drugs because they are easier to get.

"I would just call the doctor and he would just prescribe it over the phone and then when he stop prescribing, I would go to a different doctor. I started doctor shopping and just go from doctor to doctor or hospital to get more and more," she said.

That's one of the trends O.B.N. is trying to curb, but that may not be enough.

"I bought it online. I got to where I was going to doctors offices and that's what I went to prison for, getting a prescription pad and forging prescriptions because I couldn't get enough," she said.

Some hospitals, like M.C.S.O. in Durant, are working with O.B.N. to stop prescription abuse.

"O.B.N. has encouraged physicians and hospitals to be more aware of first of all over prescribing prescription medications primarily narcotics that lead to abuse and addiction and eventually death in some patients," said Dr. Jim Ford.

O.B.N. said all Oklahomans can help prevent the problem by removing unnecessary medications from their homes that could make them the target for addicts.

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