The Edmond Sun


May 21, 2009

No control for drug users

EDMOND — If you think you can control drug use, think again.

Mental health experts say drugs can control anyone.

For example, in September, Edmond resident Robert Michael Behlen, 51, was sentenced to almost four years in prison for robbing the Barrett Drug Center in September 2007. He demanded painkillers and he left the pharmacy with about 1,600 pills, swallowing a handful of them in the process, police reported.

After his arrest, Behlen was placed on suicide watch, and managed to jump from the fifth floor of the Presbyterian Tower of the University of Oklahoma Medical Center, where he was taken after stabbing himself in the neck with a pencil while he was in custody at the county jail.

Behlen was a respected Edmond attorney.

The local drug scene

In Edmond and elsewhere more youth are experimenting with prescription drugs, including highly addictive painkillers, said Edmond Police Sgt. Damon Minter.

Parents have other cause for concern.

Minter said �?pharm parties,�? in which teens heist prescription drugs from their parents�? medicine cabinets, mix them in a bowl and swallow them with a goal of getting high, likely are happening here.

The party drug Ecstasy is used as much if not more than ever, Minter said. Also being used are crack cocaine and meth, two highly addictive drugs; in a matter of months, meth can dramatically alter a user�?s appearance.

Data from the Edmond Police Department illustrates the level of drug use in the community.

Police report that juvenile bookings for drug-related offenses rose from 97 in 2007 to 114 in 2008, a 17.5 percent increase. Police spokeswoman Glynda Chu said the increase may have risen in part due to the vigorously enforced social host law.

Also, police logged 585 adult drug-related arrests in 2007 and 490 in 2008, Chu said.

Many Edmond teens have used drugs, according to the 2006 Oklahoma Prevention Needs Assessment Survey by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. This is the most recent data available.

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