Local Centers Turning Kids Away From Drugs - Wandtv.com, NewsCenter17, StormCenter17, Central Illinois News-

Local Centers Turning Kids Away From Drugs

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Decatur - As students head back to school to earn an education, many are turning their attention elsewhere.

"It's alcohol and drugs and that are putting the high in high school, not advanced education," says Joseph Califano.

Califano and other researchers from CASA-Columbia, in New York, recently released a survey of 1,000 teenagers.

Of the students surveyed, an astounding 97% said they know classmates who engage in drinking, using drugs, or smoking cigarettes, sometimes even during school hours.

Christine White, a Second Chance therapist for the Heritage Behavioral Health Center in Decatur says there are several reasons why more and more kids are turning to drugs.

"The biggest ones are the stress, maybe easy access, peer pressure, if it's available, families are using it.  It's a difficult time for them," says White.

Kids aren't just experimenting with marijuana and alcohol these days according to White.

"With the new drugs coming out, like K2, synthetic things, we're starting to see different areas and different types of drug usage with that," added White.

Through drug education, like free handouts, White says kids can kick the habit before they even start.

"A lot of times they don't even know what the drug will do to them, what it can lead to, so I start there," says White.

Giving kids a chance to start their futures, before sending them up in a smoke.

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