Family Of Late OU Linebacker Helps Fight Prescription Drug Abuse

Thursday, December 19th 2013, 8:18 pm
By: News 9

It's been two years since OU linebacker Austin Box died from a prescription drug overdose. The autopsy revealed Box had six different drugs in his system.

Box's parents have now partnered with the state to try to prevent anymore prescription drug overdoses.

From 2007 to 2011, the State Medical Examiner's Office reported more than 2,500 deaths in Oklahoma were prescription-drug related. And that's why "Take As Prescribed" is now in action.

"Austin was a humble young man who felt that he'd been given so much in life that he had to not waste his talent," Craig Box, Austin's dad, said.

Two years ago, Austin Box's parents had no idea their son was dealing with a lot of pain from numerous sports injuries. The football player found comfort in five separate pain killers and one anti-anxiety drug.

"Austin was clearly ashamed of the secret he was keeping. We didn't know, his girlfriend didn't know, his best friend didn't know," said Box.

7/12/2011 Related Story: Five Drugs Found In OU Linebacker Austin Box At Time Of Death

So to prevent others from dealing with prescription drug problems alone, the Box family has teamed up with the state of Oklahoma to promote a comprehensive plan called "Take As Prescribed."

"If what we do can save one child and one family from losing a child, it's worth the effort," said Box.

"We are going to make a change for those facing substance abuse for those in our state," Gov. Mary Fallin said.

The details of the plan include the establishment and promotion of prescription drug drop boxes; a place where citizens can drop off drugs at secure locations.

"People can come with no questions asked just to get it out of their cabinets," OBN Director Darrell Weaver said.

7/29/2011 Related Story: Permanent Drop Box In Edmond For Unwanted Prescription Drugs

And while those prescription medications are in the home, the state encourages the use of personal lock boxes.

"It's almost scary how available they are," said Weaver. "You go into a cabinet [and] they're there."

There are already 148 public drop boxes across the state. In just two years, the state has collected more than 24 tons of prescription drugs.

By 2014, the state plans to have at least one drop box in every county. Oklahoma has also launched a website called which has information and advice for avoiding prescription drug abuse.