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Santa Cruz dad explains dangerous affects of prescription drug abuse

By Marissa Schwartz, Reporter, MarissaSchwartz@kionrightnow.com
Published On: Mar 10 2014 02:40:37 AM CDT
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -

Prescription drugs are just as addictive as heroin and are often sitting right in your medicine cabinet.  This month marks California's Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Month.  Prevention advocates want parents to listen up.  It's all in an effort to educate people on the dangers of prescription drug abuse and how quickly it can happen.  We spoke with a Santa Cruz father who knows the devastating affects of addiction all too well.  

"I always tell parents that you have a choice when you learn about addiction.  You can learn about it on your own terms, or you can learn about it when you're forced to," said Brad DeHaven.

DeHaven said he was forced to learn about addiction after his oldest son hit rock bottom at 22-years-old.  He disappeared, started selling drugs to feed his habit and was eventually arrested.

"I didn't think addiction would ever happen under my watch.  So imagine my shock when my oldest son became a heroin addict and it all started from a prescription for Vicodin got a broken arm," DeHaven said.

DeHaven said his situation is becoming more common.  He's traveled all over the country hearing similar stories.  DeHaven is featured in the documentary "Behind the Orange Curtain", a film that delves into the prescription drug problem affecting affluent families in Orange County, CA. 

This week, students and parents at Aptos High School will get a chance to see the film.  Prescription drug abuse is something the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Department is pushing parents to learn more about.

"The more information that you can get and the more knowledge that you can obtain about addiction and how easily it can happen the more prepared you are," DeHaven said.

Being prepared is something DeHaven thinks a lot of parents are ignoring, because they don't think it'll happen to them. 

"People don't see it coming, they don't realize that there's heroin in their prescription bottle," Dehaven said.

If you're interested in seeing the film, on Monday Aptos High School will hold a town hall in the performing arts center from 6-8 p.m.  Panelists will share some information on how Santa Cruz County is handling the issue of prescription drug abuse.