Abuse is on the riseThree graduating seniors died in separate incidents in Oklahoma in May from mixing OxyContin and alcohol while celebrating their graduation, Snowden said. Greg Mashburn, district attorney for Cleveland, Garvin and McClain counties, said the incidents of teenage drug overdoses from prescription drugs have grown proportionately over the past few years, leading him to call on Snowden to give his presentation to parents’ groups in Moore, Norman and Pauls Valley. One is planned for Purcell in the near future, he said. "The best way to combat the problem is to get the word out, to educate parents, teachers and anyone who works with young people,” Mashburn said.
Lock your cabinetThe best preventive act an adult can take, Snowden said, "is to lock your medicine cabinet. Keep prescription medicines out of the wrong hands.” Snowden advises parents to keep track of types and quantities of medications in the home and keep them in a secure place where they can’t be used by anyone other than the person for whom they are prescribed. "If you’ve got a prescription, and it’s got a refill, and you know you aren’t going to refill it, tear the label off,” he said. Dispose of unused medications, Snowden said, by crushing pills and mixing them with garbage, or turn them in to a police department, sheriff’s office or pharmacy for disposal. "Don’t let them just sit around the house, but don’t flush them down the toilet, either. Find a safe, legitimate way to dispose of them,” Snowden said.
Common drug sources
• Home, relatives’ medicine chests
• Internet Source: Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs
AT A GLANCE
Signs of prescription drug abuse
• An unexplained drop in grades
• Skipping school
• Frequent school suspensions or expulsion
• Change in friends
• Increased disrespect or defiance of authority Source: Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs