Pubdate: Tue, 26 Dec 2000
Source: Austin Daily Herald, The (MN)
Copyright: 2000 Austin Daily Herald Inc.
Contact:  310 N. E. Second Street Austin, MN 55912
Fax: (507) 433-8851


There's good news and bad news.

Here's the good news: teen smoking is down significantly. Last year, more 
than a third, 34.6 percent of high school seniors responding anonymously to 
the Monitoring the Future survey said they smoked. That dropped to 31.4 
percent this year. And the percentage of eighth-graders dropped from 17.4 
to 14.6 percent.

Drinking remained the same, basically, with the eighth-, 10th- and 
12th-graders interviewed.

There were also slight drops in drug use from 1997 to 2000, but only a few 
percentage points. The numbers are still high, with 19.5 percent 
eighth-graders, 36.4 percent of 10th-graders and 40.9 percent of 
12th-graders reporting that they had used at least one drug in the past year.

Plus, there were increases in the use of MDMA, also known as ecstasy, among 
all three grade levels.

There was a 5.6 percent increase in the use of the drug in seniors 
surveyed. It now stands at just over 8 percent.

Plus the most significant increase came with the use of heroin in high 
school seniors. That's up to 1.5 percent, the highest since the group 
started the survey.

It's hard to say what the numbers look like here in Mower County. But there 
are very tangible ways to curb the use of drugs and alcohol, and those 
organizations and community efforts should be applauded.

While it's unfortunate that the community needs a sober school, we are 
fortunate to have such a resource. It provides students who are determined 
to stay sober a safe and supportive environment.

The Terp Ballroom, sponsored by the Vineyard Christian Church and Youth 
Activity Center are both fine examples of safe places for teens to hang out 
and socialize without drugs and alcohol.

Programs like DARE help to teach children the dangers of drugs and how to 
say no in the face of peer pressure.

Plus all the parents, teachers and members of the community who instill the 
value to "just say no" in children also deserve a pat on the back.

But all of these resources cannot survive on their own. They need the 
support of the community to thrive and help the children of the community. 
Consider how you can support these resources and support the youth of Mower 
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D