More teenagers use drugs and alcohol
Thu, 04 Mar 2010 01:20:58 GMT —
A survey of 3,000 high school students across the country shows almost 40% of teenagers drank alcohol sometime in the last month.
And 25% have smoked marijuana. Those numbers are alarming enough...even more alarming, the numbers are going up after dropping for about a decade.
Ellen Vonderheide is with Planned Approached to Community Health, or Patch. It's part of the Adams County Health Department. Just more than a year ago, Vonderheide asked more than 1,000 teenagers in Adams County about their drug and alcohol use.
That local survey showed 89% of kids surveyed are *not* smoking cigarettes or pot, and 69% don't drink.
"So we know that prevention is happening...most of our youth are making positive choices, they're making healthy choices," Vonderheide said.
Still, that means eleven percent of kids in Adams County *do* smoke, and more than 20% drink.
"I think people think they're cool when they do it, that's the main cause, and maybe that they'll be seen," said Alexandra Dietrich, QJH freshman.
"I think it's just that's it's so prohibited, that they just want to rebel," said Jay Stalder, QJH freshman.
"I think that our kids aren't well informed of the true extent of the consequences of their actions. A lot of times they see it as an arrest or a ticket, but they don't see later down the road and how it can affect their future," said Kim Dinkheller, Freshmen Dean of Students.
That's why freshman at Quincy Junior High learned seven reasons to leave the party Wednesday. Students heard from Adams County Judge Mark Drummond about the choices they make, and how it can change their lives and their choices forever. Drummond used several examples of cases he and other local judges see on a daily basis.
Adams County State's Attorney Jon Barnard also sees how bad choices today can affect a young person long-term.
"It will go anywhere from not being able to not get a certain jobs. Not being able to posess basic civil rights, like not having a firearm. If you're convicted of a felony, you can never own a firearm and if you're a hunter, that's big," Barnard said.
These students got that message loud and clear.
"The consequences, how far they follow you, it was shocking to me that it can have that much damage to your future and career," said Dietrich.
"I just think about how my parents would feel if they saw me doing something like that and how horrible the consequences would be."
Even the brightest teenagers don't always understand or appreciate long-term consequences. Many of them live in the moment...so warn them what could happen to them *immediately* if they make the wrong choice.