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Prescription Abuse Gaining Problem For Oklahoma Kids, Drug Educator Says

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says 2,000 teens abuse prescription drugs for the first time every day.

Drug educators say kids don't think prescription drugs are as harmful as what they might find on the streets, but that's not necessarily the case.

"Their parents take them, their grandparents take them and they're done in a lab so they think there's no real risk or harm," said Jeni Dolan.

Jeni Dolan has spent the past 10 years teaching kids about the dangers of drugs. She's the interim Executive Director of Operation Aware, a program that provides drug prevention education to schools across Green Country.

"Being in the classroom gives us the bird's eye view as to what is trending," Dolan said.

She said the drug scene is more complex than it's ever been. There's marijuana, alcohol, synthetic drugs, bath salts and drug cocktails. Then, there are prescription drugs, and Dolan said those are becoming more and more popular among an alarming age group.

4/2/2013 Related Story: Hale Junior High Students Fall Ill From Taking Prescription Drug

"Now you're hearing more prescription names being thrown out in like 6th grade and 7th grade. When that starts to happen, you can see it's trending more," Dolan said.

Those students are typically between the ages of 11 and 14, a time in life when Dolan said curious kids think they're invincible.

She said ease of access is a contributing factor to drug use at such a young age.

"Just looking at it from a kid's perspective, 'Well, I can't get my hands on this. Maybe we'll try this,' or 'Hey, did you see this on YouTube? Let's try this,' and that's where it really starts to spiral out of control for them," Dolan said.

She said parents need to make sure their children understand that, even though some drugs are prescribed by doctors, they can still come with dangerous consequences, especially in the wrong hands.

Dolan said Hydrocodone is the most popular prescription drug among Oklahoma kids, but marijuana and alcohol are still bigger problems than pills.

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