Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program Problem Statement


During the late eighties and most of the nineties, alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) use declined among all age groups. The past few years, however, have seen an increase in the use of alcohol, of tobacco, and of certain drugs, mostly among school-age children. The problem extends down into the middle school grades, which begin at either 5th or 6th grade. The problem varies from state to state and even from school district to school district (Demographic Subgroup Trends for Various Licit and Illicit Drugs: 1975-2001, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, 2002).

Experts disagree on the causes of this latest upward trend, but some consensus does exist. A decade of declining ATOD abuse figures caused substance abuse organizations to grow lax about getting the word out, about spreading the message. Programs against substance abuse in the schools have grown old and stale. They have not kept up, and an alarming number of today's children are ignoring the message (John J. Master, "Why Now: What's Causing our Kids to Light Up, Chug Down, and Get High?" Health Care Digest, April, 2002).

Additionally, a decade of shrinking numbers caused the intervention and response capacity of many anti-abuse organizations to weaken. As demand declined, these organizations naturally reallocated resources to other issues. In our community, no publicly available ATOD intervention and response resource exists.

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