The average age of first-time drug use for someone who becomes addicted is 12 years old, according to the Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education program in Hillsborough County.
It’s a staggering statistic that Dawn Golden, mother of Katie Golden, says has got to make people act.
Katie was just 17 years old when she overdosed on heroin in April of 2017. She was four weeks away from graduating from Plant High School.
Her mother says something has to change and she is putting that task to Florida lawmakers.
"I'm hoping to propose a law that would make it illegal to offer, entice, encourage, help kids use deadly drugs,” said Dawn Golden.
She started an online petition that quickly amassed hundreds of signatures to show legislators the concern for the issue citing statistics on teen overdose. New numbers released by the National Center for Health Statistics says drug overdose deaths increased 19-percent from 2014 to 2015. That includes teens ages 15 to 19.
Golden is trying to push laws that would be a more proactive approach when it comes to teens and drugs.
"The current law focus on possession, sale and distribution,” said Dawn Golden. “This is to make it illegal for kids to encourage kids to use drugs before they get to that point."
She has accepted responsibility in her daughter’s part in the overdose, but she also says the constant pressure from the wrong people also contributed.
She has now dedicated much of her life to volunteering with NOPE Hillsborough with the hopes of saving at least one life.
Click here for more information on NOPE Hillsborough.