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Talking to students around the state, RISE TOGETHER says it found surprising results when it comes to drug use among students.
“We went out to 70 different schools in 27 different counties in part of our prevention/education program,” said President & Co-founder of RISE TOGETHER Anthony Alvarado.
The organization considers itself a recovery advocacy group that works to prevent substance abuse through community outreach.
In total 2,866 students ages 10 to 18 participated in the survey.
When students were asked what substances they experimented with, here’s the straight story:
- 88 percent of students said alcohol
- 41 percent said tobacco
- 41 percent said marijuana
- 18 percent said prescription pills not prescribed to them
When students were asked when they started using substances, of the 893 that answered the question, almost 20 percent said they started at age 15.
Bill LaBine is the executive director of the Jackie Nitschke Center, a drug and alcohol treatment facility in Green Bay.
He says some young people abuse substances because they’re easy to find and drugs can also be used to change the way a person feels.
“[The drug] takes away all that pain and then what happens is those drugs, the alcohol, it really works well for a couple of years or a year but then, as the disease progresses, they have to use more drugs or different drugs or more alcohol,” LaBine said.
RISE TOGETHER and another advocacy group are reaching out to schools across the state to promote a training program for school employees.
Erik Kirkstein, coordinator of the Healthy Youth, Bright Futures Coalition, says, “We recognize that student services staff in schools have a lot of work to do and they’re very busy doing lots of things and this program is designed to integrate into their existing work.”
The program is called Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) and it’s offered by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
The goal of the program is to use early intervention for people engaged in risky or problem substance use.
Schools would have to pay around $100 for each employee to be trained.