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Fairport-E.Rochester Post
  • Fairport examines drug use, risk behaviors among youth

  • For most parents, it's disturbing to think that children in middle and high school regularly consume alcohol, get high, and have sex with their peers.



    But while the truth can be tough to accept, the message on Tuesday night was clear: adults should not ignore it.

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  • For most parents, it's disturbing to think that children in middle and high school regularly consume alcohol, get high, and have sex with their peers.
    But while the truth can be tough to accept, the message on Tuesday night was clear: adults should not ignore it.
    The auditorium at Minerva DeLand School was filled with parents and teachers during a community meeting to discuss the results of the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted by a partnership between the school district and Fairport-Perinton Chemical Advisory Council (CPAC).
    This survey, designed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been given to Fairport students every two years since 1995, and provides useful data that is shared with the community and incorporated into health curriculum and school policies regarding behaviors like drug and alcohol abuse.
    "We try to get this information out there so parents are aware these things are happening," said CPAC co-chair Debra Tandoi. "My question is, what is happening to our culture that we get to the extreme where kids are using anything to get a high? What is the real problem?"
    Last year, more than 3,000 students in grades 7-12 completed the survey, which asks them to anonymously answer questions about their use of substances, and things like sexual activity, bullying, and suicidal behavior.
    The results showed that one-third of high-schoolers said they had at least one drink of alcohol within one month of taking the survey. About 35 percent of all students surveyed reported having sexual intercourse.
    Both middle school and high school students indicated that they use tobacco, marijuana, prescription drugs, inhalants, and even cocaine.
    Addictions specialist and social worker Mark Head said parents must act as leaders in the household to protect their children from slipping into negative behaviors.
    "You have to start young because your kids are starting young," said Head.
    If your child is using drugs, he said that instead of ignoring the problem, it is best to confront it out of concern for their well-being.
    "You should not judge their drug use, but need to tell them that you're seeing it not as a moral issue but a health issue...there's a difference between trying to control somebody else and being complicit to what they're doing."
    Following a question and answer period with the speaker, guests watched a video that showed a graphic, real-life footage of a car accident caused by drugged driving.
    Parent Sheri Guarino said she was surprised by the number of adolescents who actively use harmful substances. She has a 12 and 15-year-old, and seeing prevalence of these behaviors among their peers is cause for worry, even if her children don't take part.
    "You can have good kids, but you just never know," she said. "I think you have to keep your eyes opened."
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