The Norman Transcript

Columns

September 16, 2012

New challenges in war on drugs

NORMAN — Darrell Weaver still remembers the first time he listened in on an illegal drug transaction. He was a rookie law enforcement agent and he couldn’t believe such things were going on in rural Oklahoma.

“My parents would have killed us if we were involved in something like that. I had no idea what was going on out there,” he said.

Friday marked 25 years since Weaver began as an agent with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics. He chose police work after the 1984 bank robbery in Geronimo, Oklahoma where robbers killed four persons. “I knew from then on what I wanted to do,” he said.

Now the drug agency’s director, he said the issues agents face today are far different than those of 1987.

Today, the bureau battles the influence of Mexican drug cartels, prescription drug abuse, methamphetamine, synthetic drugs and, beginning Nov. 1, human trafficking.

Lawmakers gave his agency the authority to investigate human trafficking beginning this fall. Weaver told Norman Chamber of Commerce members it will become as big an issue as drug trafficking.

n n n

Meanwhile, the agency tackles the prescription drug abuse problem head-on. Oklahoma leads the nation per capita in painkiller abuse. The state is also the ninth highest in overdose deaths, mostly from prescribed drugs, up 137 percent in a decade.

The state’s top “doctor shopper” was in McClain County, visiting 195 doctors and 105 pharmacies before being arrested.

Weaver’s agency oversees 17,000 “registrants” who have prescribing authority. “Way less than one percent ever have an issue with us,” he said.

Physicians and dentists are aided by the prescription monitoring database which allows them to check in real time whether someone is “doctor shopping.”

“Three hundred thousand Oklahomans have prescription drug problems,” he said. “It can sneak up on anybody. The drug issues are affecting all of Oklahoma.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Hate without end

    The news that a former grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan is suspected of shooting and killing three people near Jewish community centers in Kansas seems at first glance like a disparaged past flaring briefly into the present. Americans like ...

    April 21, 2014

  • Don’t let moderation confuse you

    Jeb Bush’s recent compassionate comments on immigration show how far apart he is from the far right of the Republican Party....

    April 20, 2014

  • Priest’s execution should spur action

    In the hierarchy of saints, martyrs are on the highest rung of the celestial ladder, at least for me....

    April 20, 2014

  • Settlers found opportunities in red dirt fields

    There are few constants in families where the teenagers and soon-to-be teenagers outnumber their parents. One things holds true at my home: Nobody gets out of bed in the morning before dear old Dad....

    April 20, 2014

  • NRA members need to step up

    Please, Mr. Bloomberg, leave the checkbook open, but step away from the podium. Your efforts to curb gun violence and improve safety are notable. The National Rifle Association thanks you....

    April 19, 2014

  • First, do no harm — to your bank account

    After being sued by the Wall Street Journal, the government finally released its Medicare reimbursement data last week. It included the less-than-stunning revelation that 28 of the 100 doctors who received the largest payments in 2012 were ...

    April 15, 2014

  • Reading between the lines

    Reading is such an improbable idea — a miracle, really. Yet simple squiggles on a page, arranged just so, can convey ideas that change the way we think or introduce to us characters we love for a lifetime. In celebration of reading — and ...

    April 15, 2014

  • CCFI tackling area’s child abuse problem

    Editor, The Transcript: To those of you who are reading this editorial, I assume you care or at least are entertained by the opinions of others. It is my hope and desire that when you read this editorial, you will care about the facts. ...

    April 12, 2014

  • Does Oklahoma need advice from Texas?

    Does Texas have a lock on “brilliant minds”? The names of Texans like Congressman Louie Gomert, Sen. Ted Cruz and that other guy ... I can’t think of his name ... oh yeah, Rick Perry come to mind very quickly. Add to that infamous list ...

    April 12, 2014

  • Why Comcast-Time Warner deal makes sense

    Say this about the deal announced Thursday for Comcast to buy Time Warner Cable: It’s big. Big price tag of $45 billion. Big combined subscriber base of 30 million households. And big risk of a veto from government antitrust regulators....

    April 12, 2014