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Local group shows parents warning signs of teen drug abuse

By Stephanie Hale-Lopez
Published On: Feb 02 2013 08:42:16 PM CST

Statistics show more than 15 million people in the U.S. abuse prescription medications.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

Statistics show more than 15 million people in the U.S. abuse prescription medications.

In an effort to inform the community about the dangers of prescription drug abuse, a local group organized a live presentation with a model bedroom, to show parents how to identify common signs of substance abuse in teens. 

"Typically a parent suspects drug abuse a year after their children have been using," said Alisha Passey. 

Bonneville Youth Development Council coordinator, Alisha Passey, says substance abuse is a problem everywhere and eastern Idaho is no exception. 

Using a mock bedroom, Passey explains some warning signs parents should be looking for in their child's room. 

"A binky, you think how weird is it that a teen has a binky, but when they're on certain drugs they grind their teeth," said Passey. "So a binky helps them not grind their teeth."

Passey said even everyday items like household cleaners and books can be used inappropriately. 

"Even things that are marketed for jewelry or to keep some of your possessions safe, kids can use in destructive ways. So they could have their prescription drugs in there," said Passey. 

Experts say a common misconception with prescription drugs is that they're safer than illicit drugs. 

"If it's not being tracked by a medical professional and you're taking this, you're running a great risk of becoming addicted, over-dosing or even dying because of these medications," said James Williams, pharmacy director at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. 

To keep prescription meds from getting into the wrong hands, local law enforcement collects any unused or unwanted drugs and properly disposes them. 

"We take them to an incinerator in Utah. They're a drop off location for several states in the area, and they basically burn them at a very high and intense level of heat," said Sgt. Jeff Edwards with Bonneville County. 

If you missed Saturday's "take back" event and want to get rid of unwanted medications, you can drop them off at your local sheriff's office. 

They accept all types of medication, but no needles.

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