MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Carrying around and taking prescription medication isn't a crime, but if your name isn't on the label, it can get you into big trouble.
"If you are not lawfully prescribed a narcotic, then you are not allowed to take it under the state laws of Alabama," said Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich. "If you are in possession of someone else's narcotics, that's a crime. If you are taking someone else's narcotics, it's a crime. It shouldn't be done, and we're not going to tolerate it in our community."
Thursday, January 31, state and local officials held a prescription drug abuse summit to heighten awareness about the crime and find ways to put a stop to it.
Millie Shamburger works with students in Baldwin County and said she deals with students battling drug abuse first hand.
"I think it's honestly just coping with day to day stresses, whether it's family pressure or school pressure or even just peer pressure. Most teens are exposed to that in high school (and) one of their coping mechanisms is drug abuse, and we're trying to figure out an alternative to that," Shamburger said.
Officials said prescription drug abuse is a problem affecting families across the board whether you're rich, poor, young or old.
They said prescription drug abuse is on the rise especially in young people, and some teenagers are getting drugs from their homes without their parents even knowing about it.
"I think it's a problem like young people getting into their prescription drugs when their at home just to get high or whatever. I think it's a really big issue," said Bishop State student Greshunte Gamble.
Rich said that's exactly what teens are doing.
"We've put so much awareness on drugs like marijuana and cocaine and alcohol that young people are saying, ‘Okay, I can't do those things but there's some narcotics in my parents medicine cabinet,'" Rich said.
Officials hope by using their resources and working with the community, it's a problem they can solve.
Click here for an interactive website on prescription drug abuse.
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