Surprising teen drug use information revealed at local panel

A local panel of experts spoke to parents about teen drug use on Thursday night at the Fayetteville YMCA.

A panel of experts at the Fayetteville YMCA spoke to parents Thursday night about teen drug use.

One of teens' drugs of choice may come as a surprise. "We're starting to see a big spike in heroine use with adolescents," said Wil Perez, Director at Conifer Park Outpatient Clinic in Liverpool. "And if we look back at drug abuse a couple years ago, they all started with some kind of hydrocodone, oxycontin, percocet."

Teens' other drug of choice may be a little frightening. "Unfortunately, nowadays we're starting to see a lot more of the synthetic drugs, designer drugs - Molly, K2, bath salts," said Perez.

Perez added that 43% of adolescent heroine use starts with prescription pain medication.

The prevalence of teen drug use may also seem surprising. "I would have to say at least 50% of our drug-related calls are kids that are in high school trying the pills, trying the synthetic drugs, alcohol-related complaints, marijuana," said Angela Palmer, Investigator for the Manlius Police Department.

The panel, which also included Ben Lesperance, School Information and Resource Officer for the Feyetteville-Manlius School District, recommended ways for parents to check for drug use.

Suggestions included monitoring teens' call logs and Facebook pages, as well as looking for paraphernalia in clothing pockets and cars, or under mattresses. They say this is okay to do even without suspicion because the key is to stay ahead.

Parents seemed to take away valuable information from the discussion. "I'm in the healthcare field," said East Syracuse mom Kim Henry. "I'd like to think I have some knowledge, but absolutely getting more knowledge from experts is only going to make us parents stronger."