Study reveals CO teen substance abuse among highest
Teens are reporting drug and alcohol abuse across the country, and that's reflected in the results of a new study showing 10% of Coloradans, ages 12-17, abuse substances.
Sarah Hughes, a research analyst for Colorado Children’s Campaign, says, "It's a little bit disheartening to see that we were ranked 48th in the nation on an indicator like that."
Colorado has reported one in ten teens abusing drugs or alcohol since 2005, according to the Kids Count Data Book.
Only New Mexico and Montana showed worse statistics.
"Unfortunately it’s not shocking,” Jim Schrant, with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, said.
The DEA says the problem is especially prominent on the western side of our state.
"Teens have been involved in a lot of different drugs here in western Colorado, including meth and heroine,” Schrant said. “That’s very concerning because of the devastating nature of those drugs."
Officials say there are also abuse problems with prescription drug and synthetic drugs, like spice and bath salts.
Colorado’s Children Campaign, a research and data base advocacy associations, takes the results of this study very seriously.
"We absolutely base all of our decisions on what the data research says is best for kids," Hughes said.
Officials say teen drug abuse is a complex problem.
"I don't think there's any one silver bullet to fix it or improve that number," Hughes said.
"It has to be an issue of vigilance and awareness,” Schrant said.
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