(RNN) - Amid the tragedy of teen drug addiction and overdose deaths, experts are encouraging parents to pay close attention to their child’s behavior to spot drug use.
Deaths of Americans from drug overdoses have risen yearly from 2002 through 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says. The number of deaths from opioid drugs also spiked in 2015 compared to 2013.
In 2015, the total number of deaths exceeded 50,000 for the first time, the CDC says. From 2002 to 2015 there was more than a two-fold increase in the total number of deaths, the federal agency says.
The CDC says that parents who effectively monitor their child’s behavior can decrease the chance that youth will make a bad decision. In addition, research says that children who know their parents disapprove of risky behavior are less likely to engage in those harmful activities, the CDC says.
The CDC urges parents to stay engaged by knowing their child’s friends, setting expectations, watching how teens spend money, and enforcing rules.
The Courage to Speak Foundation, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, CDC and others offer several tips for parents to remember as they try to prevent drug abuse.
Changes in longtime behavior patterns, mood shifts, big differences in health and appearance, and loss of interest in sports and spiritual activities are just some of the clues that parents should notice.
The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids says that children who are not regularly monitored by their parents are four times more likely to use drugs.
The Partnership says some of the changes parents may see in children using drugs include:
• Unusually tired, lethargic
• Runny nose not caused by allergy or cold
• Sores around mouth, vomiting, cotton mouth
• Sudden weight gain or loss
• Headaches, depression
• Loss of interest in school, extracurricular activities
• Appearance of unusual drug apparatuses, including pipes, rolling papers, small medicine bottles, eye drops, butane lighters, or makeshift smoking devices, like bongs made of toilet paper rolls and aluminum foil.
Th CDC offers a helpful series of videos on how parents can best interact with their children to reduce the likelihood of bad decisions.
Pro Talk, a site that features insights from experts in drug abuse and treatment, provides parents with tips on how to discover if their child is using drugs.
A Pro Talk article says soda cans, makeup, toilets, candy containers, belt buckles, mattresses and books are just some places teens can use to hide drugs.
“It’s no surprise that teens can be very clever about where to hide their secret possessions. Teens are notorious for being innovative, and hiding their drugs is no exception. Not only do teens hide drugs in their room, they also hide them in their car and bathroom. Their hiding spaces are limitless…” said veteran school counselor Raychelle Lohmann on the site rehabs.com.
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