By Matt Montgomery
Experts say prescription drug abuse among teenagers, statewide, nationwide and worldwide has reached the level of an epidemic. However, the Piedmont Police Department is being proactive and taking measures to reduce prescription drug abuse among the city’s teenagers.
Piedmont Police Chief Alex Oblein and Piedmont Special Resource Officer Scott Gibbons are working together to make sure they educate and make the youth of Piedmont aware of the risks of prescription drug abuse and educate them on the drugs themselves.
Gibbons said Drug Abuse Resistance and Education (D.A.R.E) is only taught up to fifth grade in Piedmont, so it takes him getting in the high school and recognizing issues and handling them before them turn into problems and utilizing the services of K-9 drug dogs.
“The school has stepped up the presence of drug dogs on campus,” Gibbons said. “They do a contract where they hire out and bring drug dogs to the campus.”
He added that these drug dogs have the capability to smell certain types of pills, especially pills like Adderral that are methamphetamine based.
Gibbons said there are three main types of prescription drugs that are commonly abused. Medicine for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, such as Adderral are commonly sold and traded between students.
He said Marijuana is always a constant, but painkillers like Oxycodone and Hydrocodone can be more dangerous than Marijuana and are more easily accessible.
Ultimately, he said it is going to take a joint effort between law enforcement and parents to eliminate teenagers getting the drugs in their hands in the first place. He said most of the time a kid will take the pills from the mom and dad’s or grandparent’s pill cabinets and take them to school and sell them, trade them or take them with their friends.
Gibbons and Oblein both said the City of Piedmont is working with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and a request has been made for a drug dropbox to be installed somewhere in Piedmont.
Gibbons said he doesn’t know when or if Piedmont will get a dropbox, so people can properly dispose of their old prescriptions, but said he hopes soon.