Hotline connects Tenn. parents looking for help with children abusing drugs

A simple phone call is helping parents connect with other parents who need help with their child who may be abusing drugs.

A simple phone call is helping parents connect with other parents who need help with their child who may be abusing drugs.

The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids recently launched its own program in Tennessee because the state has the infrastructure set up to combat the growing opioid epidemic.

The program pairs parents together through a hotline over a five to six week period where coaching and listening takes place.

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"They are not there to give advice. They are really there to listen and to provide them techniques and coach them through. That's why it's called the coaching network," said Kristina Clark with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. "Through these difficult times, so just provides another signing board without stigma because some of these parents feel so shamed and isolated with what they are dealing with."

Already, parents in East Tennessee are helping others across the state.

MORE INFORMATION: Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

"Doing the parent coaching has been incredibly rewarding and meaningful to my life because it's given meaning and helps me connect to my son Henry and his memory in a way that I know he would have wanted me to share and making something good out of losing my son," said David Huntley.

Huntley lost his 19-year-old son Henry, his only son, to a combination of drug use and mental illness. Huntley said Henry took his own life about a year ago.

"The worst possible thing that could happen to a parent happened to us," Huntley said.

Henry battled depression and anxiety. Huntley said he tried everything he could to help his son, but in the end, the disease of addiction took him.

"Even with all his efforts and all of his support, he lost his life," Huntley said.

He felt compelled to help even after such a loss. Huntley is now a coach with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.

He helps families struggling with the same situation learn tools and ways to connect with their children.

"This is what we didn't have. This is what's needed in this crisis, is a parent support network where you can talk to other parents who have been through it," Huntley said.

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He added it's been incredibly rewarding to help and see families transition into a loving and nurturing way of dealing with addiction and mental illness.

The free hotline number is 1-855-378-4373.