Alcohol and tobacco use has dropped by more than half in some age groups among Inyo County teenagers, according to statistics presented to the county Board of Supervisors Nov. 26 by Health and Human Services Director Jean Turner.
The steps taken to deter substance abuse have had a significant impact since HHS first put its prevention plan in place in 2005. The county’s Addiction Task Force, made up of HHS staff, law enforcement agencies, schools, government land managers and the courts, focused on both prevention activities and “discouraging” substance abuse, according to Assistant Director Linda Benson. “We worked well together,” she said of the collaboration, “identifying the problem and getting the message out.” Elements of the 2005 plan ranged from the traditional make-it-hard-to-do-the-wrong-thing by patrolling prime party spots along the Owens River to initiating Youth Coalitions at Bishop High School.
The biggest drop came among high school freshmen and juniors, two of the four groups used in the analysis. Current alcohol use dropped from 44 to 24 percent among freshmen and from 65 to 35 percent among juniors. The decrease in tobacco use was even greater, 35 to 17 percent and 55 to 20 percent among freshmen and juniors, respectively.
Read more in the Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013 edition of The Inyo Register.