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Parents of Addicted Teen Sending Message of Painkillers' Dangers

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) A new campaign is underway to remind parents, teens, and doctors alike about the dangers of prescription painkillers. The parents of one teen who killed himself battling the addiction have been leading the charge.

Avi Israel and his wife Julie have been campaigning for answers in their sons case and in the process getting more awareness out.

"These kids are really good kids," says Avi Israel, whose son Michael was prescribed painkillers for Crohn's disease. "Whether they made a mistake at a party or like my son they were prescribed into addiction, we don't have to give up on them." He adds no kid makes a goal to be an addict, nor a doctor "wakes up and says I'm going to kill a kid today. That doesn't happen."

Now, the campaign Painkillers Kill More than Pain has been launched, as the top killer among teens is now overdosing.

Dick Gallagher, co-founder of Kids Escaping Drugs, says treatment centers to be built now.  "You can build a Dollar General in two months, a hotel in a year, but it takes 3-5 years to develop a facililty to treat chemically dependent adolescents and young adults. That is absurd and it needs to change," says Gallagher. "We need to expedite treatment, make it available and accessible, not deny it because of bureaucratic regulatory requirements or lack of push and lack of urgency that we have in this room."

The stigma of getting help also has to go away says Ann Constantino of Horizon Health Services. "People need to ask for help, not be ashamed. And as these families will tell you, there is no shame is seeking help, and you are not alone," says Constantino.

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Topics : Social Issues
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Locations : Buffalo
People : Ann ConstantinoAvi IsraelDick GallagherJulieMichael
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