The True Story about Youth Drug Abuse in Florida

Everyone who’s worried about drug abuse in Florida is worried about the youth demographic’s consumption of recreational drugs. The latest statistics from the Florida Department of Children & Families shows good news and bad news. The good news first: Harder drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine maintain a relatively low prevalence of lifetime use among Florida youth; lifetime use of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine for Florida 12th graders is below six percent in all cases and under 10 percent for all three combined. Then there’s the bad news: Lifetime use of substances like alcohol, nicotine and marijuana for Florida 12th graders is highly prevalent; the numbers are 72.4 percent for alcohol, 35.4 percent for nicotine and 43.7 percent for marijuana. Additionally, the lifetime use rates for harder drugs don’t deviate significantly between youth and adult populations, indicating that drug users in Florida start using young and stay hooked.

This is problematic for a number of reasons, not the least among them because there’s a strong correlation between the age at which substance abuse begins and the development of severe dependence later on. In light of this, it should trouble anyone concerned with curbing drug abuse and drug related problems that over three quarters of Florida youth have begun using—and many of them abusing, based on reporting for use in the last 30 days—the substance that drug harm specialists have ranked far and away the most harmful. This is also a problem for those who begin using more harmful substances like heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, inhalants, and PCP. These substances, though not as harmful socially as alcohol, can be more addictive, and it isn’t hard for a youth experimenting with these substances to get hooked at the time of their life they may be able to afford it the least. Interruption of high school education by a period of serious drug addiction can have extremely negative consequences for a student’s academic performance, and subsequently affect their chances of getting into college and receiving the benefits of a secondary education.

What’s needed to correct this problem isn’t just more education, but more vigorous intervention in the form of Florida drug rehab for those youths who have already been affected by substance abuse. This kind of intervention through Florida drug rehab is critical not only to help this generation of youth overcome substance abuse, but to insure that the well-established cycle of substance abuse is curbed. Combating drug abuse in this generation guarantees lower rates of exposure in subsequent generations and reduces the need for direct intervention in the future. Many Florida drug rehab centers are specially equipped to assist youth with drug addiction.

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