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Proactive role suggested for parents in drug war

September 18, 1998|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

RANSON, W.Va. - Several youths have sought help for heroin addiction in Jefferson County, W.Va., and some teenagers have bragged about using the drug, students and officials said at a drug awareness meeting Thursday night.

Heroin, a highly addictive and destructive drug, has been popping up in rural areas around the region.

Karen Hoff, executive director of the Clean Focus Coalition, a local drug awareness group, said several youths have been treated for heroin abuse at a clinic in Jefferson County.

Charity Boyce, a senior at Jefferson High School, said a couple of students at the school have bragged about heroin use by pointing to needle marks on their arms.

"It's like they're stupid or something," said Boyce.

Boyce and Hoff were at a meeting to help boost parents' awareness of the warning signs of drug use among youths. The meeting, which was attended by only a few people, was held at AB&C Group as part of the company's community outreach program.

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Parents have typically been told that the telltale signs of drug use include unexplained periods of moodiness, depression or anxiety among their children, or loss of interest in things they used to consider important. While they are sound guidelines, drug abuse is often well on its way by the time those signs show, said Hoff.

Hoff suggests a more proactive role for parents, such as getting to know the parents of kids that their children are hanging around with.

Hoff also suggested that parents get to know their childrens' friends and spend time with them. Kids will often become oblivious to the adult's presence and talk openly about their activities, said Hoff.

In October and November, the Clean Focus Coalition will offer a free parenting class to help adults safely lead their children through their teen years. For information, call the coalition at 1-304-725-3433.

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