Woman dedicated to stopping substance abuse speaks out after tee - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Woman dedicated to stopping substance abuse speaks out after teen overdoses

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A 13-year-old Hancock County boy is dead after the coroner said he overdosed on opioids and benzodiazepine. This is an unfortunate eye opener that South Mississippi teens are experimenting with drugs.

“This is a horrible thing to think. Someone at 13 is gone because of an overdose," Gulf Coast Substance Abuse Task Force Executive Director Carolyn Anderson said. "That's a life unfulfilled. That life will never reach its greatest potential."

Tragedies like this one are what Anderson has dedicated her life to trying to prevent.

"Teens, parents, teachers and anyone in the community, you need to step up. Make them feel special. Make them feel love. Make them feel life is worth living, and push them towards their potential," Anderson said.

The three most common reasons teens resort to drug use, according to Anderson, are experimentation, depression and bullying.

"Probably one of the biggest things is being bullied, and a lot of teens don't realize by saying, 'Oh, what a tacky outfit,' that may crush someone's spirit,” Anderson said. "We need to focus on positive messages."

In 2011, 1,950 young people died from drug overdose, according to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

"I want teens that are upset, depressed or being bullied. I want them to find an adult they can confide in, whether it's a coach, teacher, Sunday school teacher," Anderson pleaded. "Talk to someone. Don't experiment."

Statistics show prescription drugs are the most commonly abused, and most teens get the drugs from relatives or friends.

"I tell parents to keep their medicines with you and older parents, they make safety lock boxes for homes that you can put your medicine up," Anderson said. "Make sure it's put away so they don't find them."

By continuing to spread these messages Anderson hopes this will be the last South Mississippi child lost to drugs.

"I don't think we were given children to let them be bullied, feel pressure or make them feel like their life is not worth living," Anderson said.

To learn more about teen drug abuse, go to the National Institute on Drug Abuse website http://teens.drugabuse.gov/ or you can contact the Gulf Coast Substance Abuse Task Force at http://www.gcdrugfree.org/.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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