WOODBURY - With the problem of prescription drug abuse on the rise on Long Island, experts say paying attention to early warning signs could potentially prevent a tragedy.

Timothy Kroll was 23 years old when he died of drug addiction. His mother, Teri Kroll, says in high school, her son was an excellent student and an avid surfer. However, Kroll suffered from anxiety, depression and severe headaches, so he sought medical help.

Within four months, Kroll was addicted to painkillers. Once confronted, she says her son tried to stop, but instead he switched to cocaine and heroin.

Drug counselors compare pill addiction like that of Kroll to a pot of boiling water which simmers slowly until it reaches a boiling point.

Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, of Long Island's Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, says individual warning signs are often easy to miss, but the signs are there.

Commonly abused pills are expensive, so Reynolds advises parents to look for changes in kids' spending habits. Dramatic mood swings are another sign of a potential problem, as are changes in a person's appearance and behavior.

"If someone is experiencing withdrawals, they'll be pretty shaky and fatigued and nauseous," Reynolds says.

For an interview with Teri Kroll, go to your digital cable box and select iO Extra on Ch. 612.

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