LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Experts say that now is the perfect time to talk to your school age children about drugs, since the new year is just days away. Sometimes these little conversations can save your child from taking a wrong turn.
"Ten years later down the road who cares, who cares how cool it was then you know?" asked Brian, a recovering addict. "I don't even have a college education, I didn't graduate high school. How cool is that, right?"
Brian said he began smoking marijuana when he was 12-years-old.
"Marijuana, it always leads to something," he said. "It did for me and everybody I know, it leads to something else. Always has and I think it always will."
Diboll Superintendent Gary Martel said pot, alcohol and prescription pills are the most common drugs used by teens.
"There's an apathy out there," Martel said. "They're looking for something, an outlet."
From someone who's traveled down what he calls a "dead-end road", Brian said parents need to look for red flags and help their kids get back on the right path.
"If you start noticing little things like your child's not spending very much time with the family, you need to get behind it and figure out why," Brian said. "Get some help while they're young."
"I think it's important for them to see if their eating habits have changed because a lot of times if a child is abusing drugs or alcohol, they're eating habits will significantly change," explained Phyllis Grandgeorge of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council. "They'll be more moody, possibly more anxious about things where they weren't before."
Brian said parents need to pay attention, because sometimes that's all kids need.
"Talk to them, stay involved," he said. "Don't just sit back and wait for the answers to come cause they're not. It's only going to get worse. If your car breaks down do you just sit back and hope it'll fix itself? No, you go out and get it fixed."
Brian said his drug abuse lead to multiple run-ins with the law. In fact he said he spent three years in the Texas Department of Correction. He was released two months ago. He said he is telling his story so others do not make the same mistakes he made.