Orlando Substance Abuse Counselor comments on recent Drug and Alcohol Prevention Study Success Evident in Florida Youth. The “war against drugs” in the schools is succeeding! The 2008 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey reported that every area of substance abuse declined from 2000-2008, with the exception of marijuana use and prescription drug abuse. Binge drinking (5 or more drinks in a row) declined, though the most significant decline occurred in the use of any illegal drug besides marijuana. The number of middle school and high school cigarette smokers has been reduced by half.

The problem with marijuana among students comes as no surprise. However, the good news is that fewer students (6th through 12th grade) are experimenting with this drug before the age of 14. The emerging area for concern lies in the increase in over-the-counter drugs, such as cough medications, and prescription drugs. More students are abusing pain killers and antidepressants. Prescriptions drug abuse was particularly noted among high school seniors.

What can help? Throw away old medications, unused prescriptions, and keep track of how many pills are left in current prescriptions! Monitor your child’s activities and be alert to changes of behavior in your teen. Educate your teen about the danger that prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs pose. The whole community benefits when adolescents remain alcohol and drug free.

Source: The Florida Certification Board “Briefings” Winter 2009 edition.

Author: Evelyn Wenzel, MSW, LCSW, CAP .

NOTE: you can freely redistribute this resource, electronically or in print, provided you leave the author’s contact information below intact and give credit to the 2008 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey.