“He died with his hand in the toilet, naked, in his own bathroom.”

That is how Darrell Weaver, director of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, ended a story about the devastating consequences of drug abuse during a recent community forum in Waynoka.

“In the first week of July in 2001, I was running a drug enforcement (operation) out of Oklahoma City in the rural Lincoln County area,” Weaver said. “I got a call that a drug dealer had been killed. When I got to the scene, he was lying dead on the floor in his bathroom. He was naked with a sawed off shotgun in one hand and methamphetamine in the other.”

It is scenes like this that community leaders in Waynoka hope to prevent from ever happening in their town.

They are also hoping to prevent tragedies like the death of Waynoka teen Nathan Lyon. Lyon, 18, died Jan. 4, 2009, from injuries he sustained several days earlier when acid was thrown on him during an alleged fight with Jason Michael Nelson, 32.

It was Lyon’s death that spurred Waynoka community leaders to take the first step toward combatting their local drug issues by hosting a community forum to discuss ways to combat substance abuse.

More than 150 citizens of Waynoka gathered Wednesday to hear Weaver and other state officials, including state legislators, speak on the issue of drugs.

The problem, Weaver said, is not only methamphetamine and other street drugs.

“We have a prescription drug problem in Oklahoma,” Weaver said. “Last year 86 percent of the drug related deaths in Oklahoma were from overdoses of prescription drugs.”

People’s attitude toward drugs is another threat, according to Mark Woodward, OBN information and education officer.

“People want to use drugs. It’s a choice people make.” Woodward said.

“We’ve glamorized drug use in the movies and on TV,” he said. “So many kids say, ‘what’s the big deal about marijuana?’ I have seen marijuana wreck so many lives. That’s where it starts.”

“Adults need to talk to kids and educate them about what’s going on,” Woodward said. “Let your kids know it’s dangerous, it’s wrong, and it’s an addiction.”

“People ask how to tell whether a kid is doing drugs,” he said. “Kids go through medicine cabinets. Some trade pills and sell them straight out. We’ve got pockets in every community where kids use cough syrup and gypsum weed that grows wild out here.”

“If you suspect you have a child that has a drug issue ... look for stuff that’s missing or out of place,” he said. “Odors are a big sign. Hug your kids and take a big whiff. You can smell it.”

“Look for signs of weight loss,” he said. “Change in dress, missing school, hanging around different people than normal are all signs of drug abuse.”

While parents need to know whether their children are abusing drugs, they also need to know how to treat the problem.

According to Terry White, Oklahoma secretary of health and commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, jail time and prison time does not make addicts stop using and dealing drugs.

Law enforcement “has been arresting people for years, and it doesn’t work,” White said. “Treatment is the best deterrent.”

A Waynoka parent in the audience, Tim Crissup, spoke to White on the issue.

“In a small community, if you put one of a kid’s buddies away for doing drugs, it’ll make kids think. I think that’s a deterrent.”

Maybe that would work in Waynoka, White said, “but research shows it doesn’t work.”

District Attorney Hollis Thorp who attended the forum, also spoke up.

“I’ve sent some to prison and I’ve sent some to jail,” Thorp said. “(But) I also agree we need treatment for these young people. When they get out, they go back to using drugs.”

Trudy Hoffman, executive director of Northwest Center of Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse in Woodward said a meeting would be scheduled in Waynoka to start a coalition to look at drug abuse issues.

“We need law enforcement, students, parents and grandparents,” Hoffman said.

Weaver said if someone was concerned about a drug abuse issue, he could call (877) 276-1289.

Chelsea Head, a Waynoka High School student, said after the meeting that she agreed with what Crissup said about arresting drug abusers and sending them to jail.

“I personally know people I wish didn’t have a problem,” she said. “Until there’s more enforcement there won’t be enough of a deterrent to stop teenagers and young adults (from the) abuse and use of drugs in Waynoka.”

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