Brunswick County woman says her 17-year-old son was repeatedly denied treatment for his drug addiction

LELAND, NC (WWAY) — Amanda Benton says she has tried repeatedly to get help for her teenage son struggling with a drug addiction, being turned away without treatment from multiple hospitals.

She says her son was experiencing suicidal thoughts when she decided to let her dad take him to the hospital.

Benton says she was stunned when her 17-year-old son was discharged from Novant without receiving any treatment.

“Told my dad, you have to come get him. We can’t help him until he’s an adult. So bring him back when he turns 18,” Benton said. “But he might not make it until he’s 18.”

Benton says she was unaware of regulations around drugs used to treat younger addicts and says someone shouldn’t be denied help just because of their age.

“They should never turn a child away, that’s our future,” Benton. “These people are going to be running our country one day.”

Kenny House with Coastal Horizons says the main priority with their organization is the health and future of the addict.

“We’re talking not about philosophy of treatment,” House said. “We’re talking about making sure somebody stays alive and safe.”

House says there’s not a straight forward solution given the affect drug addiction has on the body — especially those under 18.

“It’s a brain disorder that involves relapse and compulsion and sometimes repeated relapses,” House said.

Despite the challenges, House says help is available to those who haven’t reached their 18th birthday.

He says organizations like Coastal Horizons are here to guide people through the process.

“We want people to know that, not just assume that because there may be a couple barriers that those are insurmountable. They’re not,” House said. “We can provide treatment to folks in that situation.”

Amanda Benton says now that she knows of other resources, she will be reaching out to try and get her son help.

Kenny House says it takes a licensed therapist to determine if treatment is needed, along with parent approval for those under 18. But he adds that the trick process is worth it for those struggling with addiction.

We reached out to Novant for comment. A spokesperson says they don’t *refuse* treatment, but that some drugs they prescribe require the patient to be 18 and older.

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