CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - When you hear someone is using synthetic drugs, like bath salts, what kind of person do you picture? One dad said it could be your child.
"Where to start," said John Payne.
It's not something people like to talk about, which is exactly why Payne wants to chat.
"If people don't know about it, then nothing's going to change," said Payne.
He can attest to the synthetic drug problem in the area first hand.
"My son was a user," said Payne.
Payne said his son was an angel of a child until he started doing drugs. He said the synthetic drugs like bath salts are enticing because they're cheap and easy to get.
"It's accessible, up until recent months you could go to several places, quick shops here in town and buy it," said Payne.
Now, his son is in a recovery program and doing well. But, there are still those memories.
"They lie, they steal, and it's not your kid, they really turn into someone else," said Payne. "It affects everybody in the family in a very negative way."
Since it's a family struggle, it's a family recovery. Payne and his wife are taking rehab parenting classes to learn things they could do differently.
"We try to parent like our parents did and it doesn't work anymore, now you know we've learned a lot too that you may think you're doing the right things and setting the right examples and doing what you think is right, and it may not be the right thing for your kid," said Payne. "How you as a parent respond when your kid tells you something cause you want them to talk to you, but then you bite their head off, cause you don't agree with what they're saying to you, and you have to handle things in a particular way, for it to work out."
He wants to make other parents aware of the problem. He said every parent should realize it could be their kid using, and encourages them to look for signs.
"They don't sleep well, easily agitated, dilated pupils, grades start to fall, things that were very interested in before become much less interesting, things start to disappear 'cause they're being sold," said Payne.
He said parents should not be afraid to ask questions, and help stop kids from using synthetic drugs.
"All of us as parents, and just citizens of our community need to be aware and pull our heads out of the sand, on what's taking place here, there are people making huge amounts of money on our kids, and you know there's lives being ruined, we're losing kids because of it, from it, and you know it needs to stop, it's very, very ugly," said Payne.
The SEMO Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition is working to combat the drug problem.
The coalition will host the second event of the Breakthrough Breakfast Series Tuesday October 16, 2012 at 9am. The series is organized by the Coalition's Advocacy Committee. It focuses on prescription drug abuse and misuse. Scott Collier with the DEA is expected to be the speaker. Tuesday's breakfast will be at SADI (1913 Rusmar). RSVPs are required.