HAMILTON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - Kenneth and Brandice Barnfield say when their teenage daughter got in trouble at home and lost her cell phone privileges they learned their bright, beautiful 16 year old had a dark secret.
They say scrolling through text messages on their daughter's phone was an eye-opener.
Messages between their daughter and a friend read:
"My brother's snorting pills with me right now. AND he gave us xanyys (Xanax)."
"Seriously!? We have xanyys?"
"I'm coming over. We have to find someone to buy us cigs."
The text messages totally baffled the Barnfields. They say their daughter is a good student, she stays out of trouble. Where would their daughter get pills like that anyway?
"We don't even have that stuff in this house," said Brandice Barnfield "We have Tylenol, and antacid, diabetic meds but that's as good as it gets around here."
A conversation with the 16-year-old revealed a world of prescription drug abuse and partying they say they had no idea she was a part of.
"What concerns me," said Brandice Barnfield. "She wasn't just taking one. She tried five right off the bat. Because the other girl tried five."
"At the rate my daughter was taking them," said Kenneth Barnfield. "My daughter only weighs 120 pounds sopping wet, and she's taking five Xanax at a time and drinking alcohol with them, she's probably gonna die at some point."
Thousands of teens per year do die. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices reports a more than 60 percent increase in legal drug-related deaths since 1998.
The Barnfields say they're determined to keep their daughter from becoming a statistic. They hope by shedding light on the teenage activities - they can help other parents do the same.
"Maybe this will bring attention to some other school kids and parents and open their eyes and they'll start looking for this and that - checking cell phones," said Kenneth Barnfield.
"I don't care if your kid has straight A's," said Brandice Barnfield. "Our kid has good grades. Our kid plays piano. Our kid is taking college courses. We never thought to look."
The Barnfields say their daughter will be spending the first part of her summer vacation in drug rehab, and while they say she's certainly not happy with this intervention, they'd rather have her hate them now but live to love them later.