Passing the test: Teens and drug overdose - - Jackson, MS

Passing the test: Teens and drug overdose

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

For many parents with children, the teenage years are often the most stressful. As teens start to come into their own, they often test their parental boundaries.

That can mean experimenting with many things, including illegal drugs.

So, what can parents do if they suspect their teen is heading down a dangerous path? Experts say step up and confront the issue head on.

The statistics are sobering. In 2014, more than 47,000 Americans died of drug overdose and Mississippians accounted for nearly 350 of those deaths.

As access to drugs increases, parents are now tasked with keeping their teens from becoming a statistic.

"If you see grades dropping, you want to immediately look into that. Get some help if you can't figure that out," says Psychologist Roger Rinn. "And then, last but not least, if they become belligerent, more angry, more isolated - if you see big changes in their behavior - then you really want to look into it."

Rinn says that sometimes parents have to be willing to be the bad guy when it comes to their kids.

"A lot of parents don't intuitively understand," Rinn says. "They don't know what to do."

But the psychologist adds that if children's grades are falling and they are becoming isolated, angry or distant, parents might want to consider testing them for drugs.

"I think it's a great gimmick for children to come up with and say, 'You don't trust me!'," Rinn said. "Well, of course you don't trust them. Why would you test them? So, it's kind of humorous to me when a kid says that. I think the parent should say, 'duh'!"

Now there is the convenience of a simple at-home drug kit. Parents can buy one at most drug stores for less than $50.

Pharmacist Alan Musso says that parents can also spend a little more and get more bang for their buck.

"Some of them will test for 8, 10 or 12 drugs. Barbiturates, Amphetamines, Benzodiazepines, like Valium and Xanax," said Musso. "Some of them will do opiods, like the pain pills that are so rampant today."

Drug companies claim that their results are 99% accurate. For further confirmation, you can always have the teen tested at a lab for about 100 dollars.

There are a variety of services available to parents and teens who may be struggling with a drug issue.

If you feel like your child could be in danger, you are urged to call 1-877-210-8513 for help and support.

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