Hazelden survey: Parents under-concerned about child drug abuse - KMSP-TV

DRUGS & CHILDREN: Parents 'under-concerned, overly-confident'

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PLYMOUTH, Minn. (KMSP) -

Research has shown parental involvement is critical to preventing drug and alcohol abuse in children, but "startling findings" from a Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation survey show many parents are largely unconcerned about the threat of drug abuse to their children and most admit they wouldn't know where to get help.

4 PARENTAL PROBLEMS

Lack of concern: Nearly 6 in 10 parents of children ages 12 to 24 said they are "not concerned" about their child's use or abuse of alcohol or drugs. This lack of concern comes amid a heroin "epidemic" in which 4 of 5 addicts started out using prescription pills.

Easy access: 1 in 4 homes surveyed have prescription painkillers in unlocked cabinets or out in the open, and more than half of households have alcohol in a place accessible to children.

Uninformed parents: Almost 8 in 10 parents think they're well-informed about the warning signs of alcohol and drug abuse in children, but the average parent could only name 2 of the 38 common warning signs.

"Very often, when we have young people here as patients and their parents come in, what we hear frequently is that I'm completely shocked and blindsided by this -- I had no idea my young person was using drugs are alcohol," said Amanda Klinger, a mental health practitioner at Hazelden.

Helpless: 1 in 5 parents admitted they didn't know where to turn for help if their child had a drug or alcohol problem. 1 in 5 said they would talk to their primary care physician, but fewer than 20 percent of physicians surveyed considered themselves "very prepared to identify alcohol or drug dependence."

"These startling findings suggest that some parents are under-concerned about the dangers of alcohol and other drug use by their children and are overly-confident they would recognize signs of their children's use," said Audrey Klein, Ph.D., executive director of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.

THE SURVEY

The survey of 2,454 parents was conducted by Q Market Research of Eagan, Minn. The findings have a confidence interval of 95 percent and a margin of error of +/- 1.9 percent. The full report can be viewed at hazelden.org/youth

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