LOCAL NEWS

Know Your Script: Parents Who Lost Daughter To Opioid Abuse Warn ‘It Can Be Anyone’

Mar 23, 2021, 8:33 PM | Updated: 9:25 pm

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah – For many, prescription drug abuse started early. A Saratoga Springs family never dreamed this devastating problem would cost them so much.

The photos of Alyssa Hendricks that lined the walls of her family’s home, belie the pain underneath. “She would light up the room, she would light up a life. She was just so loved,” said Hendricks’ mother Nicole Hendricks, who lives in Saratoga Springs.

Nicole Hendricks said her daughter suffered from depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. “She said that it helped numb,” Hendricks said. “That she didn’t have to experience that pain that was going on in her mind.”

After a car accident during Alyssa’s senior year of high school in 2015, a doctor prescribed pain pills. “Sixty, with a refill of 60,” her mother said.

Within a month, she was hooked.

“Doubled, tripled, increased the dose on her own,” Hendricks said. Two years later, Alyssa died of a heroin overdose.

Jeremiah Hendricks, Alyssa’s father said, “We still miss her. It’s hard to still think that she’s gone.” Tears streamed down his face.

Dr. Robert Mendenhall, an addiction medicine specialist with Intermountain Hospital, said prescription drug abuse among teenagers is a common problem. He said teens are abusing opiates most commonly, along with stimulants and sedatives, like anti-anxiety medications. Almost half of teens, 47%, said it’s easy to get prescription drugs from a parent’s medicine cabinet, according to Partnership at Drugfree.org.

“It’s amazing how many teenagers don’t know how dangerous prescription drugs are,” Mendenhall said. Studies have shown that early use of drugs and alcohol increased the risk of addiction and changed the developing brain.

Experts advised the best way to protect your teen is to talk to them about prescription medications. Remind them that taking someone else’s prescription or sharing theirs with others is illegal and dangerous.

Also, stay involved, according to research from the Partnership to End Addiction.

Find opportunities for real conversations. Approach those talks with openness, offering empathy and support. “You sort of avoid lecturing, and you avoid the talking down,” Mendenhall said. “You just kind of talk to them about, you know, ‘Have you been using and if you have been using, why?'”

For the Hendricks family, a memory box holds what their hearts can’t: flowers from Alyssa’s casket and a fabric swatch. “It’s a small piece of lace that was actually cut off the bottom of her dress that we buried her in,” Nicole Hendricks said.

Missing Alyssa and warning parents to be vigilant, Hendricks said, “It’s scary to think that a lot of the people are just one prescription away from becoming an addict, and it can be anyone.”

If your teen needs help, visit KnowYourScript.org. Also, use the SafeUT program and app which offers free, confidential counseling.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Third District Judge Keith Kelly declined Wednesday to dismiss a lawsuit filed by transgender girls...
Emily Ashcraft, KSL.com

Judge declines to dismiss lawsuit against Utah’s transgender sports ban

Third District Judge Keith Kelly decided Wednesday that three transgender girls and their families do have the ability to pursue a lawsuit against Utah's ban on transgender girls participating in girls sports.
22 hours ago
The Davis School District is opening five resource centers for homeless students. The centers offer...
Mike Anderson

Davis School District reveals new resources for 1,300 homeless students

Five brand new centers intended to provide needed services for homeless students are opening in the Davis School District, just in time for a return to school.
22 hours ago
FILE (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for UNITAS)...
Michael Houck

Weber County father booked for uploading, possession of child porn

A Weber County man was arrested for child porn charges after being reported by a tip line on Tuesday.
22 hours ago
...
Dan Rascon

Utah sees spike in bicycle fatalities

According to the latest numbers from the Utah Department of Transportation, Utah has seen 11 fatalities, more than any previous year in the past decade, and there are still five months left in the year.
22 hours ago
(Shelby Lofton/KSL TV)...
Shelby Lofton

Neighbors in Washington Terrace pushing for ordinance to allow chickens

Some homeowners in Weber County are asking for a rule change regarding chickens.
22 hours ago
Salt Lake Police released body cam video of an officer-involved shooting in July. (Salt Lake City P...
Cary Schwanitz

Salt Lake police release body cam video from officer shooting of a man who set his yard on fire

New video from the Salt Lake City Police Department showed the events leading up to the shooting of a man who had set his yard on fire.
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
Know Your Script: Parents Who Lost Daughter To Opioid Abuse Warn ‘It Can Be Anyone’