As opioids affect Montana teens - Here's what parents need to kn - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

As opioids affect Montana teens - Here's what parents need to know:


The teen opioid epidemic is a national crisis continuing to affect the lives of our children. A new report from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control found overdose deaths among 15-to 19-year-olds spiked more than 19 percent in recent years.

In the last twenty years opioids have claimed the lives of nearly one thousand Montana teens. Just this year it’s even been declared a national emergency. For parents looking to protect your children, I spoke to experts tell me the five things you should look for.

The signs of opioid abuse are very similar to that of other drug abuse.  

The first sign is a declining performance in school. If you’re receiving reports that your child is acting up or not doing as well as they usually are, that could be a warning sign they are using drugs.

Another sign is isolation or over involvement with friends. Opioid abusers often choose to either take the drug with a group of friends or in solitude.

The third sign is nodding off. If you see your children nodding off after just waking up or throughout out the daytime this is a symptom that is often associated with coming down from opioids.  

Another sign is acting out of ordinary behavior. For example, if your children are normally well behaved and they acting out or if they follow curfew and they began consistently missing it. 

A fifth sign is either aggressive or submissive behaviors. If you notice the extreme of either, mood swings are often associated with opioid use.

Adolescent addiction specialist Logan Cook said, “It’s definitely scary. If your kids are experimenting just like there’s an opportunity for overdose with marijuana and other things like that opioids are really scary in comparison because of the higher risk of overdose and things like that.”

If you feel your kids could fall into the temptation of taking opioids, the first thing you want to do is have an open discussion with them about it. If you suspect they are currently taking opioids, you can take them to a counseling center. You can find one by searching for your zip code on Turn To Help

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