ARDMORE, OK - Educators and health officials say they have seen a significant rise in prescription drug use among high school students all the way down to 5th graders. On Wednesday officials from the OBN and local agencies will hold a town hall meeting to bring the community together to help fight this growing problem.
Director of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Darrell Weaver spoke to Ardmore High School and Middle School on Wednesday. Weaver says prescription drug overdoses are blamed for more deaths in Oklahoma than any other drug, and says kids today are using drugs at younger ages than ever before.
"It just seems like young people are more mature today than they were back twenty years ago, and I think if we can get to them young, and they can decide for themselves not to get into this, as young as we can get that into their mind, the better off we'll be," Weaver says.
Judy Cavner from the Carter County Health Department says prescription drugs are becoming popular among all age groups because they're easy to get and equally as easy to distribute to friends.
"If they're using drugs in middle school and high school there's only one direction to go. That is to become adult users. If they live that long it is a big big problem," Cavner says.
Cavner invited the OBN and other local officials to speak at a town hall meeting Wedesday night to help educate parents and other community members about steps they can take to help stop the problem.
"We've got to educate the parents. We need some intervention now. We need some help. It's your children we're trying to save, and we need parental involvement desperately."
Weaver says prescription drug problems are not isolated to one specific group and says the real solution to fighting drugs in Oklahoma is getting the whole community involved.
"Prescription drug abuse has no respect for a person, so it can be a young person or older. It crosses all ethnic and economic boundaries, so what we have to do is look around us and more than likely each family has someone who has a problem with this," Weaver says.
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