Local teens use of hard drugs declining, alcohol and marijuana usage increasing

Local teens use of hard drugs declining, alcohol and marijuana usage increasing

MIDLAND-ODESSA, TX (KWES) - In West Texas and the Permian Basin, teens have said "no" to a national trend.

"Here in our region, we're actually doing a very good job and Texas in general is doing a very good job of preventing opioid overdose deaths among teens," said Kevin Thompson, Regional Evaluator, Prevention Resource Center.

A recent study by the National Center for Health Statistics showed a 19% increase in overdose deaths with teens between 2014-2015 who use hard drugs.

Thompson has been crunching the numbers. While the number of teens using hard drugs has decreased over the last few years locally, it's not the same for teens who drink and smoke marijuana.

"34.8% of 6th-12th are currently drinking alcohol. Nearly a quarter of students in our area have smoked weed or consumed marijuana in their life time," said Thompson.

One reason why those numbers are high, it's easy to get.

"Those two drugs in particular are readily available according to the kids themselves," said Thompson.

Not only that, Thompson said most teens believe there isn't a danger in using them. Especially marijuana.

"95% percent of youth can probably agree that meth and heroin are bad for you. When you juxtapose that to marijuana that perception of harm is very different," said Thompson.

Thompson added for teens in the area, beating the addictions of alcohol and marijuana is going to take the kid to looking at them self in the mirror.

"They have to take it upon themselves and realize they have a problem and need help."

If you're interested in seeing the latest stats locally click here: https://www.reg9prc.org/

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