Alcohol and drug use by teens is particularly harmful to their healthy development and overall safety.Alcohol remains the drug of greatest use among youth followed by marijuana, tobacco and prescription drugs.In Montgomery County specifically, alcohol is also the most commonly abused substance, followed by tobacco products and cigarettes, marijuana, prescription drugs, and other illicit drugs.
28.9% of high school students reported alcohol use in the past 30 days and Montgomery County students reported slightly higher drinking rates higher than youth in other local jurisdictions. Alcohol use can lead to a range of negative impacts on youth including alcohol poisoning, physical and sexual assault, injuries, suicide, and risky behaviors
Community concerns are growing around the use of marijuana and prescription drugs among teens, and at the same time, a lack of adequate parental awareness persists around use.
18.8% of high school students in Montgomery County reported engaging in marijuana use within the 30 days prior; teens are beginning to underestimate the dangers associated with marijuana use
8.6% of high school students reported using prescription drugs in the past 30 days; the CDC found that prescription drug abuse is one of fastest growing health problems in the United States
Contributory factors include:
Families lack knowledge and effective parenting skills to guide their adolescent youth in developing appropriate pro-social behaviors and communicating with each other to avoid youth using drugs.
Youth need access to healthful alternatives to using drugs and associating with substance abusing peers that can be found in after school programs.
After school programs need knowledge and skills to educate youth on the problems of substance abuse, to help youth develop healthy alternative leisure-time options and to refer youth who may be experimenting to appropriate early intervention services.