Younger children now using drugs and alcohol – Times Daily

SHEFFIELD — Members of the Riverbend Prevention Team said one factor continues to alarm them about drug and alcohol use among youth — the younger ages.

Team members met with other Colbert County youth and juvenile officials in a Town Hall meeting this week. There was a comparable meeting for Lauderdale County earlier in the week.

With results in hand from a recent survey of students in grades fifth through 12th, Amber Jones of Riverbend’s Prevention Services, said among the targets for her department are students at risk of trying drugs, or those who’ve had a single experience with drugs.

“The age of these students is younger than we would have expected (some reported as young as 8), and we’re also concerned with how the kids are getting it as some said on the surveys that they were getting it at school,” she said. 

The community-wide survey showed adults had a misconception about the age range of youth using alcohol or drugs, believing it to be 15 to 20 years old.

“Many on the survey also thought alcohol was the biggest factor,” Jones said. “That’s not the case.”

Colbert County Probation Officer Lee Cox said the number of cases involving drugs and alcohol for 2016 is about the same as 2015. However, she said there was an increase in the number of children violating probation terms.

“We had 85 to 90 percent of these kids failing drug tests during the six-month probation period,” Cox said. “The most shocking thing from last year’s numbers is the young ages of kids using harder drugs like synthetics, meth and prescription pills.”

Colbert County Superintendent Gale Satchel said parents must be held responsible.

“I have a

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