The rising use of drugs and alcohol among the youth in Florida’s St. Johns County has become a matter of serious concern. According to county’s annual report for 2016, a whopping 54 percent of high school children consumed alcohol, while 32 percent smoked marijuana and 35 percent used illicit drugs. Experts feel that the situation could be worse as adolescents and young adults are scared about getting implicated and hold back from providing the correct information regarding their habits related to substance use.
To deal with the drug crisis, St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office (SJSO) has been making its best efforts. “Certainly with tobacco products and alcohol, those are the majority of substances most likely to be consumed by our youth. From there, some of those individuals will become involved with marijuana, and others will be involved with more harsh substances, such as cocaine or pain pills or designer drugs,” said Chuck Mulligan, community affairs bureau commander for the SJSO.
The SJSO has been working directly with the impressionable youth to make them understand the repercussions of drinking, smoking and using drugs. It has issued a booklet titled “Know the Law,” which contains information about the extant drug rules that youths break. Besides, SJSO deputies avoid making arrests or filing criminal charges against those found in possession of illegal substances. Instead, the deputies initiate talks with the youth and suggest counseling if necessary.
Not only the SJSO, local organizations like PACT Prevention Coalition are also working hard to address the issue. Denver Cook, the chairman of the nonprofit, said that though the prevalence of alcohol use among minors is greater than cannabis and prescription drugs, all three are an issue. Cook said they are also planning to organize a doctors and parents’ meet in Northeast Florida to educate the latter about the harmful effects of prescription drug misuse.
Surveys show that Florida kids belonging to influential families and living in posh areas are at a higher risk of using drugs and alcohol. Efforts are made to approach elementary schools and start awareness programs for adolescents to guide them away from illegal substances. They are educated about all the ill effects and are encouraged to refrain from the use of drugs and indulge in productive behavior that would give them a “natural high.”
Seeking help for drug addiction
To get desirable results while making efforts to reduce alcohol or drug abuse, it is necessary to seek professional help. Teenagers need the safety net of their families when they make an error. They must be encouraged to attend programs that aim to educate them about the ill effects of substance abuse. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), about 2 million children aged 12 to 17 were using illicit drugs like heroin, cocaine and marijuana in 2016, while over 23 percent of young adults aged 18 to 25 (around 8 million) were current users of such drugs in the same period.
It is important to realize that consumption of alcohol and drugs by teenagers is quite damaging to their health and growth. Starting treatment at the right time can prevent them getting dependent on addictive substances. If you know someone who is struggling to overcome an addiction or is at an early stage of drug use, encourage him/her to seek professional help.
There are some good treatment facilities that can help ease one’s pain. Get in touch with the Florida Detox Helpline for information on the finest Florida detox centers around you. A call at our 24/7 helpline number (855) 920-9869 or an online chat can guide you to the best detox center in Florida.