Fatal Painkillers Not Prescribed To OU Linebacker

Wednesday, July 13th 2011, 9:41 pm
By: News 9

Jennifer Pierce, News9.com

EL RENO, Oklahoma – Police in El Reno are trying to track the source of the drugs that led to the accidental death of University of Oklahoma linebacker Austin Box last May.

Police chief Ken Brown and his detectives are under pressure to find who sold or gave painkillers to Box.

Brown confirmed Wednesday that the drugs found in Box's system were not prescribed.

"We now know those narcotics were not something that was issued to him or prescribed to him by a doctor," Brown said.

The police are following up on information and believe they may be closer to finding the source of the drugs, however, drugs that come off the streets, are harder to track than if they came from a doctor.

Box's parents said they didn't know their son was abusing pills. They said he suffered in silence.

Oklahoma narcotics agents have found that is not unusual, unless you know the signs.

"When they have drugs in their system, they are able to function," Mark Woodward of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics said. "It's when they're not on the drugs you notice a problem. They get sick, agitated, angry, bitter, shaking."

The drugs that killed Box are highly addictive and easy to obtain. It usually begins with a prescription after an injury or surgery, then it turns into a mental and physical addiction.

That's why pain pill abuse and deaths are on the rise in Oklahoma.

"In calendar year 2010, we had 695 drug-related deaths. Eighty-one percent of those involved prescription drugs. And, similar to the Austin Box case, in many of these there were multiple drugs found in the system," Woodward said.

Box's parents have said they want his death to help others who may be struggling with addiction to seek help instead of suffering silently.