ST PETERSBURG, Fla. – Lynne Knowles thought it wouldn’t happen to her.
Teenagers dying from drug overdoses doubled from 1999 to 2015, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“My daughter was a beautiful young girl,” she said. “These are Jamie’s ashes. When she died, I didn’t know what to do with them.”
Knowles said had no clue that her daughter, Jamie Lynne Church, was a drug addict while in high school.
“By the time she graduated from high school, she had to use 3 times a day,” she said.
After a few stints in rehab and a move across the country, Jamie died from a drug overdose in 2011.
Looking back, Knowles said there may have been signs. There was a time Jamie fell asleep on the couch, and Knowles told herself it was because she was in high school and tired.
“She wasn’t tired. She was high,” she said.
Knowles hired a private detective after Jamie graduated high school to find out where she was.
But she found her on her own. She was In a drugstore bathroom, passed out on the floor with a needle in her arm.
Knowles had no clue where to turn for help.
“Nobody wants to believe their child is doing drugs,” she said.
There were 772 drug overdose death among teens aged 15 to 19 in 2015, according to the CDC.
“I go to more funerals now than I ever thought I would and it’s children in our area who are dying every day from overdoses,” Knowles said.
Private dog detection
Samantha Triplett’s K-9’s are busier than ever.
They’re hired to sniff out drugs inside homes.
“Good girl,” says Triplett, owner of STK9 Training Company Inc, after one of her dogs found some fake drugs with the same scent as real narcotics. “They are detecting main stream drugs.”
Because STK9 Training Company is a private business, they don’t have to contact authorities if something is detected.
“If the dog alerts, we don’t physically go through the item,” Triplett said. “They search. They alert and that’s the end of our job. We notify the client and it’s up to client for them to do what they want.
The increased demand has led Triplett to go from three dogs to 11.
The service, at a minimum, costs about $150. They also go to schools, nightclubs and are even called to search vehicles.
“If we detect drugs, people need to know what resources are,” Triplett said. “Depending on area, we list out what appropriate agencies are good to communicate with.”
Hiring a private company like STK9 is an idea Knowles, the parent, agrees with.
“It’s what’s best for you and your family,” she said. “If it’s going through hiring these drug seeking dogs, purchasing drug kit, hiring detective, whatever it takes.”
Knowles, who volunteers with a local drug coalition and speaks at numerous events, tells parents to have a plan.
“If I could go back those little things that cropped up, I would have gone to my local county drug coalition and educated myself because I wasn’t educated,” she said.
County drug coalitions
Hillsborough County Anti-Drug Alliance
2815 E. Henry Ave., B-1, Tampa
6655 66th St. North, Pinellas Park
Pasco County Drug Coalition
7809 Massachusetts Ave., New Port Richey
621 S. Florida Ave., Lakeland
Drug Free Manatee
1112 Manatee Ave. West, Bradenton
Sarasota Coalition on Substance Abuse
2340 Colson Ave., Sarasota
Other Bay Area resources
For those dealing with the drug use or addiction of a family member or friend.
naranonfl.org or 1-888-947-8885
For teens and tweens dealing with a friend or family member that is using or abusing drugs and alcohol.
naranonfl.org or 1-888-947-8885
2002 N Florida Ave., Tampa // 813-209-1000 // firstname.lastname@example.org
4422 E Columbus Dr., Tampa // 813-984-1818
Adult Children of Alcoholics
610 1/2 Horatio St., Apt 3, Tampa // 813-253-0506
Drug Court Coordinator
800 East Twigs St., room 605, Tampa // 813-272-5518
4612 N. 56th St., Tampa // 813-367-2572
Florida Area Command of Salvation Army, Hillsborough
1603 N. Florida Ave., Tampa // 813-226-0055
Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center
Turning Point of Tampa, Inc.
6227 Sheldon Rd., Tampa // 813-882-3003
Town and Country Hospital
6001 Webb Rd., Tampa // 813-888-7060
Addictions Recovery Unit
6001 Webb Rd., Tampa, FL 33615 // 813-884-1904
Counseling Services @ Town and Country Hospital
Tri-County Central Office, Inc AA
8019 Himes Ave., Suite 104, Tampa // email@example.com // 813-933-9123
District 8 of Al-Anon AFG Information Services
P.O. Box 341947, Tampa // tampabayalanon.org // 813-881-9372
Tampa Funcoast Area of Narcotics Anonymous NA
P.O. Box 9730, Tampa // tampa-na.org
510 Vonderburg Dr., Suite 301, Brandon // 813-881-1000 // phoenixhouse.org
Helping communities become drug-free and raising awareness on the consequences of addiction
Promoting better health through education and awareness
Addiction Care & Education // 844-221-1540