Daily editorial: Real talk about drugs | VailDaily.com

Daily editorial: Real talk about drugs

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail, CO Colorado

No one wants to believe that teens in Eagle County are anything less than safe, supported and successful ” least of all, their parents and their educators.

That’s why it took courage for a few adults to stand up and point out that there is a drug problem in our local high schools. Battle Mountain High School parents like Janet DeClark and Margaret Olle, and school leaders like Principal Brian Hester, could have exposed themselves to judgment and ridicule for outing a problem many of us have known about for years.

But in coming forward and pointing out the problem we hope they’ve kickstarted a meaningful effort to combat teen drug and alcohol use. We hope that programs like the Safe Homes Network, which requires a pledge from parents who join to not allow anyone under age 21 to consume alcohol or drugs in their home, get participants.

We also hope the community will seriously consider the benefits and drawbacks of random drug testing on high school students involved in after-school activities.

According to studies performed by the Eagle River Youth Coalition, Eagle County teens are less likely to do drugs than their peers across the state. A 2006 survey showed 20 percent of local kids have engaged in binge drinking in the past month ” much lower than the 30 percent of Colorado high schoolers who say they’ve done so in the same time period. But surveys are only as reliable as the students who take them.

And even if those numbers really are indicative of what’s happening in our high schools, there are still too many kids drinking too much alcohol. We know of athletes who have been kicked off their athletic teams for using illegal substances, and even local teens who are in rehab trying to kick their addictions.

Parents, teens and school officials do have their work cut out for them. Peer pressure is part of the challenge, as is living in a resort town where drug and alcohol abuse among adults keeps the local cops busy year-round.

Publicly acknowledging that a problem exists is a good start. Now is the time for all parents, school leaders and teens to start talking about drug and alcohol abuse, and use that momentum to enact meaningful changes.

” Tamara Miller for the Editorial Board

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