Transforming Today's World Magazine Volume 4 Issue 1 - Page 45

dramatically increasing in America. An estimated 1.8 million teenagers of age twelve and older are current users of cocaine. ALCOHOL – Alcohol kills five times more teenagers than all other drugs combined. (usually through accidents.) Underage drinking costs The United States more than $58 billion dollars annually. In the last thirty days 50% of teenagers report drinking - with 32% being drunk on at least one occasion. Many parents feel their teen's alcohol consumption is OK because it isn't a harder drug like Crack or Heroine. But here are the real statistics; 40% of teenagers who started drinking at age 13 or younger developed alcohol dependence later in life. Teens that drink are 50 times more likely to use cocaine than teens who never consume alcohol. 63% of the youth that drink say they initially got the alcohol from their own home or a friend's house. Alcohol kills 6-1/2 times more teenagers than all other illicit drugs combined. References; “Facts about Marijuana use” Psych Central,December 2004, The University of Michigan “Monitoring the Future Study,” “National Household Survey on Drug Abuse “ (NHSDA),” “Alcoholism and Drug abuse-Strategies for Clinical Intervention”, (NY.NY), www.teendrugabuse.us, and “The National Institute of Justices Arrestee and Drug Monitoring System.” (ADAM) only use Marijuana. Of the 14.6 million teen Marijuana users in 2002, approximately 4.8 million used it on 20 or more days in any given month. (reference; Kids and Marijuana) Between 1991 and 2001, the percentage of eight graders who used Marijuana doubled from one in ten to one in five. From age 12 to 13 the proportion of teens who could buy Marijuana more than tripled from 14% to 50%. The percentage of teens who said they could buy Marijuana from a friend at school went from 8% to 22%! More than 60% of teens said drugs were sold, used, or kept at their school. 20% of eighth graders report they have tried Marijuana. 28% of teens know a classmate or friend who has tried Ecstasy or abused prescription drugs that are commonly available in our medicine cabinets! Teens abusing pain relievers has been OK- now that we know the facts what do we do about it? I believe the only way to deal with something negative is to shine the light on the darkness. But what about the expectations we have for our children - what about the American dream? Do we have the courage to go into the darkness to expose the truth? Careful! The truth is never comfortable. But ask yourself this: “Is life really about being comfortable?” Our country is at stake - our children are at stake - we are at stake, and the “stake” is burning out of control! We need to put out the fire by saying- enough! OK friends- are you ready? Take a deep breath because you are about to read a “hypothesis” that could change your perspective on how we function as a country. Let’s look back through American history. When did the decay of American values begin to change? The fifties were filled with great music and family fun. Ozzie and Harriet came into our living rooms. Girls wore The Poodle skirt and danced The Lindy as they hung out at soda fountains after school. Elvis had entered the arena while winning over the hearts of hysterical teenagers. The American family was still in tact. Kids came home after school, sat down at the dinner table and experienced Mom’s great meatloaf. Dad sat smiling at the head of the table - The American Dream was alive and well and forging its way towards an honored place in American history. But what about the sixties? Come on...You remember the sixties! Free love, The Cold War, Marijuana, Vietnam, The Beetles, Jimmy Hendrix, Woodstock, “Camelot,” and... oh yes - the assassination of President Kennedy. I have my own theory on that subject. I vividly remember the announcement coming over the School intercom that President Kennedy had been shot - and had subsequently died. All the kids and teachers were crying. I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. I literally was hysterically crying. My Mom picked me up from school and she was weeping uncontrollably. Yes- back then we still had the capacity to feel - to show emotion at grandiosity proportions. There was no sit down dinner at our home that evening. Instead, neighbors came over to hold each other and mourn. We cooked for each other, cried with each other and encouraged each others children. Then we went to bed in the wee hours of the morning - completely drained. The dream was over HH