Priscilla Presley cautions parents about drug use among children

Sunday, September 21st 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

McAlester - Priscilla Presley, who endured the drug addictions of her husband and daughter, says parents need to realize children as young as elementary school age are using drugs.

``I have a 16-year-old son so I'm around teenagers a lot and I see what they're going through,'' Presley said Saturday before speaking in McAlester. ``More than half of our nation's youth have tried illegal drugs before they finish high school.''

Presley said she has heard of children as young as 8 and 10 using drugs, and noted that the drug culture has changed since the '60s and '70s.

``I never heard about that in my earlier years,'' she said. ``Drinking beer was about it for me.''

She said people then didn't understand the dangers of prescribed drugs in particular.

``I feel they were and have been given in excess,'' said Presley, 58, who was married to Elvis from 1967 to 1973. ``We're seeing repercussions of that today.''

Besides Elvis, who died of drug abuse and heart disease in 1977, and her daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, who dabbled in drugs as a teen, Presley says she has several friends with cocaine and heroin habits.

``Throughout my life, I've had the heartbreaking experiences of family and friends fall the victim of alcohol and drugs,'' she said.