Health advocates are taking the battle against opioids to parents.

Dozens of residents attended a “Not My Kid” forum in Amherstburg Thursday night to discuss opioid abuse among teenagers.

The forum is used an educational tool to help parents identify signs of drug use among their teens, and where they can find help.

Sharmaine Tanario-Battagello, a social worker with Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare, recommends parents seek professional help and not try to help their own children overcome addiction.

“Family and friends try to play all roles when individuals are struggling with substance abuse because they love them” says Tanario-Battagello. “You’re not the experts, and you’ll probably make an error and burn yourself out.”

Former addict Matthew Kelly was the keynote speaker, and shared his powerful story of addiction and how he overcame the problem.

The Windsor-Essex Health Unit says the rate of opioid-use locally is nearly 19 per cent higher than the provincial average.

In Windsor-Essex, 37 people died last year, overdosing on the powerful drug.

Amherstburg Police say there isn‘t a huge opioid problem in town, but they hope to get ahead of the problem so it doesn’t became a major issue.

“If one person walks out of here and recognizes the problem not only within their home but someone they know, and reaches out for help, we’ve done our job” says Constable Kim Rathbone.

The provincial government recently announced nearly half a million dollars in funding to help fight the opioid crisis in Windsor-Essex.

The Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) is providing $475,000 to the Windsor Essex Community Health Centre, Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare and the Victorian Order of Nurses.