There are several steps that families and parents can take, experts say.
“Just don’t enable the behavior and don’t make excuses,” Larance said. “When parents and loved ones see behavior changes, they should address it immediately.”
Signs of opiate or heroin use include nodding out and pinpoint pupils, while withdrawals typically manifest as flu-like symptoms, Larance said, adding that drug tests can be purchased at a pharmacy.
“Stay educated,” Peel advised parents. “Know who your kid’s friends are. Any time you see a drastic change in behavior, don’t let it go.”
He advised parents to pay attention to things like dropping grades, a change in sleep patterns, a lack of participation in events, a change in physical grooming or not caring about physical appearance.
For those already dealing with an addiction, there are difficult hurdles to becoming sober but there is hope, those dealing with substance abuse say.
“They’re up against genetics, culture, family history, environment,” said Sears, who has a background in chemical dependency counseling.
Often it’s loss, such as of a marriage or job, and pain that triggers a life change for those dealing with substance abuse issues, according to Sears.
Though the Center of Hope’s focus isn’t on substance abuse, it is one of the things they find clients need to address as a part of their plan of action.
Sears said he does teach one class about addiction as part of the Jobs for Life program and refers clients to outside detox, treatment or 12-step programs if that’s an issue.
And there are various options for those battling an addiction, including Millwood Hospital, in patient and out patient programs, and faith-based meetings, according to Larance.
She and others noted the recent efforts of IFC Wellness Coalition in providing information and hope to parents and others dealing with addictions during regular substance abuse rallies held at the Texas Opry Theater.