Educators and community leaders met last tonight at the high school to learn the results of an anonymous survey taken by all the high school students last May on their drug and alcohol use and that of their friends. Mrs. Graham and I both attended the meeting.
As many suspected, the survey reveals a significant drug and alcohol problem among our youth. Even though the survey reponses dealt primarily with drug and alcohol use among high school age youth, it may well indicate a problem with drugs and alcohol in our families and homes in general. This would surely be the case among those families which permit or encourage routine underage drinking in the home.
The survey measured casual and first use of drugs and alcohol along with regular and heavy use. Alcohol, marijuana and cocaine, from what I can recall, seem to pose the greatest risk of abuse for young people from this area. Sadly, a significant percentage of graduating seniors already have already developed dependent patterns of drug and alcohol abuse.
As I recall, nearly all categories of drug use were higher in our community than the average of the student sample, with the exception of inhalant and hallucinogenic drug use by our young people, which were lower.
The purpose of the meeting was to present the data only. Subsequent meetings will plan a strategy to deal with what educators had suspected and the survey confirms, an increasingly serious problem in our community. The Board of education will make the data available in the coming days and weeks.
Holy Cross will evaluate and promote appropriate community and school programs to curb addictive use of alcohol and prevent recreational use of addictive or illegal drugs.