Law enforcement gathers to combat youth substance abuse

Law enforcement gathers to combat youth substance abuse

Amarillo, TX - Thirty three percent of Amarillo teens believe it is okay to use prescription drugs that are not prescribed to them, according to a survey.

This year's assessment survey showed underage drinking is lower among youth, however there are other concerning statistics for law enforcement...which is why they met Friday.

It's no secret drugs are becoming more easily accessible to kids and that holds true here in the panhandle.

Representatives from the Amarillo Police Department, Potter County Sheriffs Department, Dumas Police, and United Way among others gathered to take a stand.

"This meeting is pretty much bringing law enforcement agents, different health agencies, doctors, lawyers, parents teachers, school officials coming together saying what they see in the community. What's going? Is it marijuana? is it meth, is it underage drinking more of an issue? Finding out what the problems are in our region which covers 41 counties," says program Director Jackie Johnson.

So what exactly are we seeing among youth in our area?

"We're just not seeing a lot of abuse with the alcohol at this point," says Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas. "We're seeing more in the prescription drugs and think about it...nearly every household has a cabinet that has narcotics in it, or prescription drugs."

According to this year's survey, 16 percent of parents and 27 percent of teens believe using prescription drugs to get high is safer than using street drugs.

"Information is always good and if people understand the problem, then we can certainly have the the better way to start to combat that problem," says APD Chief Robert Taylor.

"You've got a lot of law enforcement agencies here, but you also have a lot of prevention groups that are here, so it's nice to hear what we're seeing as the law enforcement. A lot of these people have no idea what we're seeing and so it's kind of nice to get everybody together and see what we're seeing, see what we're hearing vs what a statistic is that you see nationally," says Thomas.