The Trackside Teen Center was packed with parents and students during the Wilton Youth Council’s Community Conversation held last April 25.
This is the third time that the council had the event where the latest survey and reviews with regards to teen substance abuse was tackled.
Board of Education member and director of the Partnership for Success Grant at Positive Directions Lory Rothstein presented the most recent results of the online survey participated in by 883 students from the 7th to 12th grades and 446 parents from the 6th to 12th grades.
So far, this is their largest sample ever handled with the number of students accounting for 45% of the total population in the respective levels.
The report put the spotlight on alcohol, drugs, and tobacco and marijuana use among students. It was noted that there was a decrease in the use of the said substances yet the average for alcohol use is still a little over than the national average; 12th graders who admit to alcohol intake within the past 30 days was below 50%.
The relationship between alcohol and marijuana use was also discussed. The Youth Council has long named alcohol as a “gateway drug” and statistics seem to agree with them. An alarming 27.9% of students confess to drinking and smoking marijuana with only 0.7% saying they never tried any of the two substances. From the teen drinking population, 35% also owned up to pot use.
Guest Speaker for the forum Chris Brown said that a teen’s brain is not at all the same as an adult’s brain. Brown, who is a school psychologist and licensed professional counselor, made it clear to everybody that a teen’s brain’s reward center is extra sensitive compared to adults’ which makes them more vulnerable to addiction.
Mr. Brown also added that teens are not fully prepared to make the right decisions and acknowledge the consequences of their actions all the time as their brains aren’t fully developed yet.