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Possible New Addiction Help for Minors

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MEDFORD, Ore. — The Oregon House is reviewing a bill that would expand mental health and drug addiction services to minors who don’t have parental consent. The bill already passed near-unanimously in the Senate.

Minors can already get treatment from doctors, nurses, or psychologists without consent. This bill would allow them to seek treatment from licensed counselors and therapists as well.

Experts say fighting drug addiction in Southern Oregon is an uphill battle and minors are no exception. Residency centers like On-Track have been helping teens recover for years, usually with, but sometimes without, parental consent; it’s therapists that haven’t been able to do so, and experts say it’s therapists, not addiction centers, that teens go to first.

Addiction resources center also deals with adolescents. They say they always try to involve the family in recovery, but sometimes that isn’t possible. They say fewer barriers means more people seeking treatment. Even though parental consent and involvement are always recommended, they say finding treatment alone is better than no treatment at all.

Experts say more and more dangerous drugs are becoming available in schools. They say as recently as a decade ago, they were seeing mostly marijuana addictions. Now they’re seeing kids addicted to prescription pain killers as early as eighth grade.