Action 2 News is getting a first solid look at some eye-opening statistics showing illegal drug and alcohol use among high school age kids in Northeast Wisconsin.
This includes prescription pill and heroin use among teens.
Organizers of the area’s first youth summit addressing risky lifestyles hope it will show prevention needs to start earlier than ever.
When you think heroin use, you probably think adults in their twenties or thirties.
But a 2014 Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction survey of Brown County high-schoolers shows a little more than two percent of 9th through 12th graders admit to having used heroin.
“It’s a public health issue. And it’s a health issue that starts early. It really is,” says Ed Dorff, Brown County Heroin Response Initiative Coordinator.
The same report shows about 10 percent of teens took a prescription drug, without a doctor’s permission, within 30 days of filling out the survey last spring.
“Now, more of the conversation is starting younger and younger, and a big part of that is the prescriptions being available to teens, and that natural progression leads to heroin,” says Kelly Rowe, Brown County Drug Alliance member.
Rowe and Dorff sit on two of the committees helping coordinate Wednesday’s Glow for HOPE Youth Summit at Lambeau Field.
Such an event, geared at showing kids the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, has never been tried, but the survey shows it needs to happen.
“I want kids to walk out of there understanding that the vast majority of their peers are not doing these things,” says Dorff.
Their goal is focusing on the positive numbers like the 79 percent of teens that say they had not smoked pot in the last month, or the 82 percent that had not been offered illegal drugs on school property in the last year, or the 83 percent that had not attended school drunk or high.
They know they can’t ignore the other part of those stats, but organizers hope that’s where the kids attending the youth summit will help.
“I want them to help the kids who are using or considering using to know that there are other ways and support,” says Dorff.
The free summit will be a mix of entertainment, music and skits, designed to captivate the young audience and make the number of teens not using even higher.
Glow for HOPE Youth Summit
Lambeau Field Atrium
Wednesday, April 29th
5:00 p.m. — Resource Fair and Networking
6:00- 7:30 p.m. — Program and Entertainment
Free and open to teens ages 14-20
Brown County Responds, a coalition including the Green Bay Drug Alliance, Bellin Health Alcohol Task Force, and the Brown County Heroin Response Initiative along with a number of community partners is sponsoring the event as a follow-up to the September 2014 summit, “It Doesn’t Start with Heroin.”