According to many reported statistics, alcohol or drug abuse will affect most American households either directly or indirectly; it is only a matter of whether it is someone in your immediate family or a friend or coworker. The long-term effects of abuse result in poor health, reduced success in the workplace which affects retirement opportunities as well, and in some cases early death.
Most statistics point to teenage years as the foundation for when the problems begin.
And that is what the Wilton Youth Council focuses its efforts on: educating teens and parents of the perils of drug and alcohol use and methods of preventing abuse.
A few facts from their website presents their reason for this focus:
· Across all grades, middle and high school, greater percentages of youth report drinking alcohol than using tobacco products or other drugs (and this is being done at levels higher than the state and national averages)
· 24% of 11th grade students drank 3 or more days within the last month.
· 55% of 12th grade students drank 3 or more days within the last month
· Over 85% of Juniors and 95% of Seniors said it was easy to get alcohol when they want
· As youth get older they feel their parents see alcohol use in a less negative light, that it’s only a little bit wrong or not wrong at all. Between 8th and 12th grade this perception increases from 10% to 55% (despite this perception, over 95% of middle and high school parents in Wilton believe there is moderate to great risk associated with their teens drinking 1-2 times per week)
· The majority of teens have positive relationships with their parents. Over 70% enjoy spending time with their parents and over 80% report feeling very close to their parents. Research has shown parents to be the #1 influence in their children’s lives.
The WYC hosts well-attended presentations featuring experts who provide teens and parents the facts of abuse and methods for preventing it affecting the teens’ lives and future. They also issued a booklet, “A Parent’s Guide for the Prevention of Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Use,” to every family in Wilton, CT with a child in grades 6 to 12.
These programs and printing costs are very expensive and are not completely offset by the donations they receive from non-profit organizations such as The United Way. They also depend on the community they serve to help out during their Annual Letter Appeal, which was sent out last week to every Wilton family.
Last year the appeal raised $6,400. This year President Nan Merolla and Fundraising Chairperson Deb Bucklan are hoping to raise more than the $7,000.
You may donate to their non-profit organization using a check or credit card. To donate via credit card or PayPal click here. For more facts about teenage drug and alcohol abuse, click here.
To contact the Wilton Youth Council click here.
To the left of this article is a short video on this subject.