By Gan Matthews, NEWS 9
NORMAN, Okla. -- Cleveland County and state officials are raising awareness about prescription drug abuse.
Sponsors hoped for a big turnout Monday, as they prepared for a meeting about how to keep teens from abusing prescription medications.
In Oklahoma, 81 percent of fatal drug overdoses are attributed to prescription drugs. Last year in Cleveland County, prescription drugs caused 20 deaths. People are reluctant to throw their prescriptions out, so they tend to accumulate.
"The biggest problem that I see is that there's no stigma attached to it," District Attorney Greg Mashburn said. "It's just pills. That's what everybody seems to say, it's just pills."
Mashburn reported 15 people died of overdoses in 2005, 25 died in 2006, and 20 last year.
Michael Snowden with the Bureau of Narcotics said Oklahoma teens are among the statistics of overdoses, which sometime happen after they raid their parents' medicine cabinets. He claims teens sometimes call the raids pharma parties.
"They combine those in a bowl of some sort, and then they indiscriminately take handfuls of pills," Snowden said. "Some of those are depressants, obviously, and some of them would be stimulants, and there's no way for them to know which they're getting."
Authorities said teens know they can also make money by selling prescription pills at school.
On Tuesday, a prescription drug abuse program will be presented at the Norman High School Theater at 6:30 p.m.