Friday, May 9, 2008

Teen Drug and alcohol use peaks locally

BY RYAN FAUGHNDER
DAILY SOUND CORRESPONDENT

Intense discussions arose amongst community members at a Santa Barbara town meeting yesterday, at which Santa Barbara Fighting Back, a group that analyses and combats alcohol and drug problems in local teens, presented their 2007 substance abuse report at the Cabrillo Arts Pavilion.
Miss Santa Barbara Kovena Avila opened the meeting by speaking briefly about her own struggle with drugs and how the California Alcohol and Drugs Association (CADA) helped change her life.

“I didn’t know I had potential,” she said. “Everyone had already pegged me as a bad kid … I woke up one morning and just decided to change.”
Dr. Shereen Khatapouch of CADA then presented the findings of Fighting Back’s survey.
She highlighted the finding that binge drinking (downing five or more drinks within a couple hours) among ninth- and eleventh- graders has steadily increased over the last four years, and the Santa Barbara teen binge-drinking rate is slightly higher than the California average.
The study also showed a significant increase of drinking to “get drunk” among older teens.
“What we have is an aggressive drinking culture,” said Khatapouch.
The survey also reported that marijuana use among Santa Barbara teens is higher than in the state overall, and that 24 percent of teens would eventually need some sort of intervention to prevent them from developing a serious drug/alcohol problem.
The meeting then became an open mic session in which members of the community could speak their minds on the issues brought up by the survey.
When asked why the rates of substance abuse were so comparatively high in their town, several teens said that there just are not enough thing to do in Santa Barbara.
A UCSC grad stood up and bemoaned the loss of the Living Room, a beloved, drug-free hotspot for live music and activities that closed due to lack of funding.
“Within five months of the Living Room closing down,” he said “so many of my friends started binge drinking. And within ten years,” many of them moved on to “heavier drugs.”
Discussions heated up as evening went on. One angry man had to be peacefully escorted from the room after he ranted for several minutes during which he claimed that companies that sold alcohol and drugs used their wares as “weapons to prevent people from learning, from becoming knowledgeable.”
Local teens also had the chance to give their thoughts about how to prevent further drug use.
San Marcos High senior Chelsey Gonzales said that school rules and punishments were becoming less severe.
“It doesn’t make any sense to grant more leniency,” she said.
On the other hand, Nya Burke, 13, said that stricter rules are not the answer.
“Instead of just kicking kids out of school,” he said, “they should put kids in programs at school” to help them resist alcohol and drugs.

1 comment:

Teen Drug Abuse Prevention Starts with Parents said...

I think it's really important for parents to have a relationship with their teen and try to help them avoid drugs. My childhood friend died from a drug incident and burying my friend really did change my entire outlook on life.

I started a website dedicated to helping parents better understand their teens so that they can truly be more effective parents. It's important for parents to understand what goes on in the teenage world, to make sure their teen is comfortable talking to them about anything, and to really be vigilant about trying to HELP their teens navigate the dangerous world of teen years.

My blog posting below relates to this article and I think it'd really be a helpful resource for parents to better help their teens avoid drug tragedies like that which my childhood friend died from.

I think it's really important for parents to have a relationship with their teen and try to help them avoid drugs. My childhood friend died from a drug incident and burying my friend really did change my entire outlook on life.

I started a website dedicated to helping parents better understand their teens so that they can truly be more effective parents. It's important for parents to understand what goes on in the teenage world, to make sure their teen is comfortable talking to them about anything, and to really be vigilant about trying to HELP their teens navigate the dangerous world of teen years.

My blog posting below relates to this article and I think it'd really be a helpful resource for parents to better help their teens avoid drug tragedies like that which my childhood friend died from.

www.understandmyteen.com/blog/