Parents share tips on keeping children off drugs from firsthand experience

FORT THOMAS, Ky. -- Tina and Toney Garera are well-acquainted with the ups and downs of drug addiction through their son's ongoing battle. 

"Looking back now, we see all the typical signs," Tina Garera said. "The failing grades, isolation."

The Gareras aren't alone. They lead a support group -- Parents of Addicted Loved Ones -- because they want other parents to know what they didn't know.

"So many people think it's only them," Tony Garera said.

Tina Garera said parents may have to drug test their children, take them to a doctor and even search their rooms. 

"They don't own the house. You own the house," Tony Garera said. "So, you've got to be open and look, and catch it if you can, ahead of time.

The Gareras said there will always be telltale signs. For them, it was water bottles and ink pens. 

"We had no clue," he said. I mean, pieces of pens. They all of a sudden were in pieces."

Dr. Shan Yin with the Drug and Poison Information Center at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center advises parents to talk openly with their children. 

"It doesn't have to be starting off with talking about drugs," Yin said. "It can just be talking about their daily lives and being involved in their lives."

Yin also suggested locking up medications, encouraging children to participate in music and sports and helping children develop good coping and problem solving skills. Click here for other tips from Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

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