Babies born addicted to drugs a growing problem in TN

(WSMV file photo)

According to the DEA, more than 70% of teens get their hands on prescription drugs from family and friends.

Studies show first-time use of drugs and alcohol peak during the summer months, especially in June.

On an average day in June more 2,500 teens try prescription drugs for the first time.

Betty Mason lost her daughter to opioid abuse. Mason said her daughter first tried drugs while on a summer vacation.

“The sooner you can get to the root of the problem, the less likely it's going to manifest itself in addiction. It's no fun watching someone go down the same rabbit hole you went down.”

Mason’s 19-year-old daughter, Kathryn, died in 2016 after a six-year struggle with opioid addiction.

Kathryn was once a talented athlete and equestrian.

Mason believes teen drug and alcohol use spikes during summer, because teens have idol time on their hands.

“They really don't know what they're getting into. And they're not busy, and bored. And sometimes boredom turns you into a wrong direction,” Mason said.

Recovery advocates say, summer months are an important time to intensifying the talks parents need to have with their kids about drugs and alcohol.

Mason also wants people to avoid what she calls "stigma shame."

“People have got to get that behind them, because otherwise we're just going to continue to lose lives,” she said.

Ultimately, Mason encourages parents to take the extra steps that could end up saving lives in the long-run.

“You’re their keeper. There's nothing that you should feel like you can't do. Their bedroom is in your house. You've provided the internet service and the cell phones. Check into what they're doing, looking into,” said Mason

Mason is now working to fight her daughter's killer. She met with lawmakers in March, about possible legislation that would require prescriptions come to patients in a lockable container.

She says restricting access is one of the easiest ways to fight first time use, and abuse.

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Edward Burch joined News4 at a reporter in December 2016.

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