C-J examines effect of prescription drug abuse on Ky. children

The Courier-Journal continued today its series “Prescription for Tragedy,” an in-depth look at the effects of prescription drug abuse across the state.

For today’s installment, reporters Emily Hagedorn and Laura Ungar talked to children and adults about their experience with drugs. Eighth-grader Avery Bradshaw’s dad died from an OxyContin overdose when he was 7. “It destroyed us,” Bradshaw, an anti-drug advocate, said. “It didn’t just hurt our immediate family. It hurt the whole family.”
Watkins family (Scott Utterback photo)

While children are losing their parents to drugs, they are becoming abusers themselves. The 2007-2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health ranked Kentucky eighth in the U.S. for non-medical use of pain relievers by 12- to 17-year-olds. Operation UNITE numbers show Eastern Kentucky children are getting high using prescription drugs at the average age of 11, Hagedorn and Ungar report. Ashley Watkins, a mother of two (in center of C-J photo), was 13 and eventually became and addict. “I wish I didn’t have to look at them and know what I put them through and that it was my fault,” Watkins said of her daughters. (Read more)

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