EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — There’s been an uptick in teen drug use in the U.S. as kids have more online access than ever. The illicit drug supply has become more dangerous, while street drugs are killing people.
So how do you save your teens from going down the wrong path?
In 2021-fentanyl was identified in 77% of adolescent overdose deaths. According to JAMA the Journal of the American Medical Association, between 2020 and 2021, overdose deaths increased by 20 percent among u.S. Adolescents.
That is why a drug prevention counselor and the district attorney of Wyoming County are sending out a warning.
Cammy Anderson is a Drug Prevention specialist with Robinson Counseling Center.
She has an office at Tunkhannock Area High School to meet with students. On this day, Anderson is talking to a high school science class about the dangers of substance abuse.
For some teenagers, Anderson says the drug of choice these days is marijuana.
They’re vaping it. It doesn’t have a smell. It’s easy for them to get away with, also pretty high potency when it comes to THC levels, so kids are having a reaction to that,” stated Anderson.
Anderson also talks about how to manage peer pressure.
“Being able to say no, but being able to say let’s do this instead,” said Anderson.
Drug Prevention education is not just limited to students. Anderson makes it a point to reach out to community members.
Everyone from coaches to parents to business owners, even church leaders all in an effort to keep the message the same.
“It is illegal and there are consequences and it can really affect your future,” said Anderson.
It’s the future of the young generation that Wyoming County District Attorney Joe Peters is worried about. He says the drug problem has escalated because drugs have become more accessible and more dangerous. His message -One Pill Can Kill.
“Anything you take that doesn’t come from a pharmacy or pharmacist could contain fentanyl. We have police officers dropping over in the country because they’re opening packages with fentanyl and they’re getting overcome and many have to be resuscitated,” explained Peters.
And his ‘message’ for parents?
“You want to be a good parent? My suggestion is don’t respect their privacy. Go into their room, look around, see what they’re doing online, look at what they’re writing, look at what they’re posting. You may prevent them from killing themselves unintentionally down the road,” stated Peters.
Drug prevention educators insist it’s never too early to talk to your kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
If you suspect your child is using drugs or alcohol, contact their school’s student assistance program. There is a team of professionals ready to help guide families through overcoming substance use disorders.