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(Photo: Danielle Grobmeier/Cronkite News)
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Arizona officials offer help to parents looking to address child’s opioid abuse

The federal government has granted more than $12 million to Arizona to fight the opioid epidemic, but officials said parents should take matters in their own hands if they believe their child is abusing drugs.

Debbie Moak, director of the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family, said parents who think their child is using drugs should look out for certain warning signs, including a change in mood, withdrawal or isolation from family, a drop in grades, possible depression or hyperactivity.

“Parents don’t identify the first [drug] use for about two years, on average,” Moak said.

“Kids want to have the conversation, believe it or not, they do,” she added. “Parents also want to have the conversation around drug use and other difficult topics. Neither of them know how to get it started.”

But Arizona has a one-stop shop that parents can go to for help with these issues: Rethink RX Abuse. Moak said it’s a tool that can help parents facilitate difficult, drug-related conversations with their children.

“It [also] guides parents and families through a process where they create a one-year plan” that will help parents navigate children who may have a problem with drugs,” Moak said.

“We like to tell parents [to] win this year,” Moak said.

As for the federal funding? The money provided by the Department of Health And Human Services will support prevention, treatment, and recovery services for opioid addicts in Arizona.

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