The latest report on teen drug use has just been released. It provides clear evidence that more kids need to be reached with effective drug education. The University of Michigan carries out yearly an updated "Monitoring the Future" survey of 50,.000 middle and high school youth nationwide and then prints a report on drug use by America's young people. The behavior and attitudes represented in this survey provide advance notice of adult drug use and addiction a few years down the road. Changes in trends over the years also let us know if we are doing better or worse in getting the message of drugs' dangers to our children.
In the latest report, released in December 2009, overall drug use statistics have risen slightly, largely because of a rise in marijuana use. Perhaps more dangerous, due to their rapid addictiveness is the stably high rate of prescription drug abuse among students in their senior year of high school.
The rate of "Narcotic Use, other than Heroin" has more than doubled since 1992. Out of every hundred students, thirteen of them have abused a drug such as OxyContin, Vicodin, Lortab or methadone. These drugs are renowned for their ability to send people into drug rehabilitation facilities for treatment. Concerning Vicodin, 8th, 9th and 10th graders stated that their use rates were three percent, eight percent and ten percent respectively. OxyContin use did not increase in the last year, but remains at five percent of 12th graders.
Other prescription drugs being abused far too often are amphetamines, sedatives and tranquilizers. Trends within each category of drug also shifted, with Adderall, the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Drug, starting to replace Ritalin as a drug of abuse.
What is really startling is that it doesn't take a drug dealer for most of these kids to get the prescription drugs they are abusing. Better than half the children got the drug for free from a friend or relative. Another third bought it from the friend or relative. About 20 percent took it without asking, mostly from relatives. That means when they go to Aunt Jane's house and use the bathroom, they might be looking for a few pills they can lift without being obvious, or they might check the purse or the bedside table when no one is looking.
An essential component in the fight to save our children from drugs is effective drug education. The Narconon drug prevention curriculum is being used around the world to educate young people so they understand for themselves why they should say "No." Avoiding unworkable scare tactics and applying effective education that consults student understanding concering the lasting damage done by drugs, Narconon drug educators have reached more than three million school children with their message.
One way Narconon drug education effectiveness is monitored is by surveying student 'change in opinion about using drugs' and also checking for lowered drug use after receiving the curriculum. Consistently, our surveys have demonstrated our approach produces results. Drug use falls. Students tell us they have thrown away drugs or told other students to stop using them. There is also a peer-reviewed formal study of the Narconon high school drug education curriculum published online (www.substanceabusepolicy.com/content/3/1/8).
Informing the minds of our youth so they can reason more clearly on the subject of alcohol and other drugs is a vitally important way to curtail addiction down the road. Children who never start abusing drugs will never become addicts in need of drug recovery.
To schedule a drug education presentation, visit one of our Narconon centers websites.