Study: Parents in the Dark When It Comes to Child's Drug Use

Created: 03/07/2014 10:55 PM
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 News) -- A new study shows parents don't know as much as they think they do when it comes to their kids drug and alcohol use. Heroin is becoming a popular drug of choice, with deaths and overdoses doubling in just the last few years.

We talked with a mom who's daughters addiction cost her her life, now she's warning parents to pay attention.

"Oh my god it's everywhere, I mean it's unbelievable,” said Sharon Schlingmann of Rochester.

Sharon Schlingmann is talking about heroin, a drug finding it's ground in Minnesota and one that took her daughter's life.

When asked if Rachael is somebody she thought would try heroin, “Absolutely not, I mean I thought she drank and smoke, I mean she was so put together all the time, why would I ever think that my child would do something that's destroying her,” said Schlingmann.

Like many parents, Sharon had no idea of her daughter's addiction. "I didn't know the signs until she rolled up her sleeves and showed me she was shooting heroin,” said Schlingmann.

Sharon got her daughter help, but after 13 months of being sober, Rachael relapsed and died from an overdose. She was only 23.

"It hurts still, and it will for a long time. I would have done anything to save her, I was ignorant,” said Schlingmann.

A study from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation shows nearly 60% of parents say they're not worried about their child's drug and alcohol use.

80% think they know enough about child drug and alcohol use, but those parents could only name 2 of 38 warning signs.

"I think parents have become kind of naïve,” said Tom Truszinski with MN Adult and Teen Challenge in Rochester. He says parents should be aware of how easy teens can get their hands on drugs.

"With I-90 and I-35 those are two major traffic areas and so drugs are coming into this area in alarming numbers,” said Truszinski.

Sharon has a message for other parents, “Talk to your kids, make sure that they listen, find out as much information as you can,” said Schlingmann.

Sharon's hope, that no other mom goes through what she did. "You just got to remind them they have free will and their free will is to say yes or no,” she said.