Prescription drug abuse plagues Texoma

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GUNTER, TX- A growing epidemic concerns local law enforcement as reports of prescription drug abuse rise in Texoma. According to the CDC, nearly a third of people over the age of 12 who used drugs for the first time started by abusing prescription drugs.

Gunter resident Rudy Hernandez was concerned to hear someone's been selling prescription drugs to area teens especially with his siblings still attending school.

"it's quite scary because I have siblings. So to hear the fact that this is going around this small town, it's quite scary. I don't want them to come around this," he said.

"It's an epidemic. It's so much easier to get that than alcohol if you're under 21, even when you're over 21. You can literally walk into any bathroom in the United States and find some kind of medication."

Gunter Police Chief, Bryce Kennedy, said prescription drug abuse is an ongoing problem because teens tend to believe that prescription drugs are safer than illegal drugs--like meth--because they came from a doctor.

But psychiatrist, Dr. Aaron Brown said that's not the case.

"I think they're often overlooked. I think they're using it as an excuse to say 'well these are prescribed, these are ok.' If they're not used as prescribed, they're just as bad," he said.

Brown said one of the red flags of prescription drug abuse is a change in behavior.

"They become more rebellious, especially a quick change in behavior, drug abuse is often involved," he said.

Chief Kennedy said kids can access prescription drugs anywhere from school to your medicine cabinet at home, that's why he says it's important to keep a close eye on your medication.

"Keep a count of your narcotics. If you can't keep them under lock and key, don't put them in the most obvious places where they can be found by someone looking to steal them, a medicine cabinet, keep them somewhere else," he said.

Brown said prescription drug abuse can also lead to long-term physical damage and can even be fatal.

Kennedy said no arrests have been made.