In 2010, the Illinois Youth Survey yielded alarming results that showed about 10% of 8th graders in Lake County have already encountered alcohol at the tender age of 10 or even younger. It was also uncovered that 6% of sophomores are lighting up pot at least twice in a month.
This is why the Stevenson High School community took the responsibility of holding the “Saving Our Children” symposium which tackled issues on the use of illicit drugs. Aside from their own parents and students, families from Libertyville and Vernon Hills High schools were also present during the event.
Elisabeth Nelson from the Lake County Health Department said that the data gathered in 2010 failed to include the use of OTC drugs among kids but promised to include the subject in this year’s survey. “We have seen a slight increase in prescription drug abuse in the past year’s data,” Nelson added. “Cough medicine is higher than pain killers.”
According to Nelson, it has been recorded that children who start with the abuse of pain killers, such as Oxycontin and Percocet, ultimately go up the ladder towards heroin addiction. She added that the best sources of these pain medications are the home medicine cabinets where parents and grandparents store their prescriptions without proper security.
While alcohol remains the top drug choice among kids in Lake County, other household substances like inhalants are easily misused especially by middle school students.
Thus, Stevenson High School student assistance program coordinator Stephanie Elsass makes it a point to solicit the support of nearby schools in hosting the symposium every year. For the past seven years, schools in their area have taken turns as panel of experts during the forum.
In a report from the Sun Times, Nelson reminded parents to monitor their children especially in the coming summer season and that the talk on drugs and alcohol should be done at the earliest time possible.