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Harrison Parents Receive Education on Addiction

HARRISON N.Y. – Experts said that misinformation on addiction can be harmful to treatment, parents learned at Harrison High School Tuesday night.

“Kids take words very literally at that age,” said Tim Rader, a recovering addict who spoke with parents about his experiences. “They may think that what you are telling them is a big lie.”

Rader said that adolescents do not have the brain capacity yet to understand their actions. He found himself in a similar situation when he was an adolescent. Diagnosed with cancer at age 17, Rader became hooked on prescription pills, which eventually led to him being homeless.

“Aunts and uncles who read to me as a kid wouldn’t even wave back to me anymore,” Rader said. “That was my bottom.”

Rader now works with Prevention Specialist Anne Daniel. Daniel said that families of addicts face a stigma, which may not allow them to treat an addicted adolescent properly. Daniel said that adolescents might see drug use as a rite of passage but addiction in fact is a brain disease.

“You can do everything you’re supposed to as a parent but that doesn’t mean that you are going to prevent addiction,” Daniel said. “But there are a lot of studies that show if parents are informed it will help with prevention.”

Rader’s firsthand experience with addiction has given him greater knowledge in dealing with youths who are chemically addicted. Rader said that his experience with drugs made him want to give back and help others with what he went through so many years ago, adding that one of the worst feelings an addict goes through is when they try not to take a chemical but will ultimately succumb no matter how much they know what they are doing is wrong.

“As a parent you have to do the reverse of all of your instincts,” Rader said.

Harrison High School Principal Dr. James Ruck said that it is important for parents to know what is going on with their adolescents and that both the school district and the greater community are committed to help kids become successful adults.

“My kids now tell me things that went on in their school when they were adolescents,” Ruck said. “What I didn’t know was incredible.”

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