There’s a positive trend happening in Oregon involving high schoolers and middle schoolers. And in very large part, it has to do with parents taking a larger role in preventing underage drinking and teen drug abuse.
And for that, parents should be congratulated!
According to the Oregon Health Teens Survey, alcohol use among 11th graders and 8th graders (the classes surveyed) continues to go down. The same is true for illegal drugs, except for marijuana and the illegal use of prescription drugs.
The survey reports that the percentage of 11th graders who used alcohol in the month before they were asked the question, came in at 38 percent, compared to 44 percent in 2007.
The Oregon Department of Human Services tells us that for 8th graders, the downward trend started showing up in 2005. And there’s more good news: Illegal drugs use and smoking by teens continue to drop almost every year.
Drug prevention experts here at Oregon Partnership say this isn’t by accident. The biggest factor has to do with parents taking a much more active role in talking to their kids early and often about the dangers and effects of alcohol, drugs and tobacco.
There’s a reason why most public service announcements you see and hear about underage drinking and illegal drug use among teens are aimed at PARENTS. Parents, after all, have the most influence on their children.
Unfortunately, more Oregon teens smoke marijuana than smoke cigarettes, and here in Oregon and nationally too, more teens are abusing prescription drugs.
Those are trends that anti-drug coalitions around the country will be targeting in the coming months, initiating “lock your meds” campaigns, among other strategies.