Keeping Tabs On Our Elgin Youth

It is all too common to hear the rumors of our high school students abusing drugs or alcohol. Regrettably, our children are the targets for marketing and branding and so, the rumors may actually appear to be true. However, as a public servant, I have learned that this is not always the case. I have been working closely with teens for well over 3 years (after a necessary career change), and I found that most of the kids that have been labeled incorrectly as “drug users” or “alcoholics” are merely the target of stereotypes and exaggeration.

Our Elgin youth have had a bad “rep” for a long time. The stigma that floats above them due to such negative reports, only makes them rebel due to an inner struggle that controls their emotions and further down the road, their actions. I have found that the “labels” placed on them, are incorrect and in some times… cruel!  In order to fully understand this, we have to search for data that actually backs up the claims that our children are actually using drugs or alcohol. The best place to search for such data is the Illinois Youth Survey. There, you will see the true data of actual substance usage by type. In 2016, it was found that only 15% of 10th and 12th grade students tried alcohol in the past 12 months. That’s impressive! The best part, is that out of all the students surveyed in Kane County, only 6% of students actually tried cannabis (weed) in the same 12 month time frame.

As found in my research, the nation’s numbers didn’t differ too much from the local ones. The number of teenage drug usage in the nation has lowered or remained pretty much the same since 2015. Please, take a moment to visit the (National Institute for Drug Abuse) NIDA’s report done on this very topic in December of 2016, for more information. You can also watch this video highlighting the significance of the finds inside said survey. The director of NIDA, Dr. Nora Volkow explains it all in this short video.

Rudy Fausto – Renz Addiction Center – ATOD Prevention Specialist – Elgin, IL 60120 – October 11th, 2017       

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