Last month, youth in Tippecanoe County went around the community to observe what social conditions might be present which influence youth toward drug and alcohol use. What they discovered was staggering even to them.
Youth are given many mixed messages today. Schools, parents, law enforcement, and prevention specialists tell youth that alcohol, tobacco, and drugs are bad and not to use them, while movies, music, retailers, and all kinds of social media tell youth that alcohol, tobacco, and drug use is normal, acceptable, and even required to fit in. Youth must decide who to listen to at a time when they are under many pressures to "fit in" and "discover who they are." If they do listen to the side of society proclaiming that drugs and alcohol are acceptable norms they are slammed with detention, probation, fines, or expelled from school from the other side of society.
What can we, as community members who care about the decisions our community youth are making, do to help youth face the divided message of society?:
- Ask retailers to move alcohol away from youth-related products
- Talk to youth at an early age and on a frequent bases about the dangers of drugs and alcohol
- Explain WHY drugs are bad (on an appropriate level for the age of the child)
- Monitor their social media
- Get to know their friends
For further information on how to talk to youth about the dangers of drugs and alcohol visit our website or contact us at 765-471-9916 for brochures with detailed information.