N.C. Budget Cuts Force Closure of Two Outdoor Programs for Troubled Youth

State budget cuts are forcing the closure of two therapeutic outdoor programs for troubled youth in North Carolina, according to a June 19 article by Jannette Pippin of jdnews.com:

Due to anticipated cuts in state funding, Eckerd Youth Alternatives is shutting down two of the seven outdoor therapeutic programs it has in North Carolina, according to organization spokeswoman Karen Bonsignori. Camp E-Ma-Henwu in Newport and Camp E-Toh-Kalu in Hendersonville are the two impacted. …

Bonsignori said the bulk of the operating budget for the programs comes from state funding, and the anticipated cuts will be too steep to keep them all open. …

Eckerd Youth Alternative’s outdoor therapeutic programs are residential programs for boys and girls ages 10 to 17 with difficulty functioning in social, family and school environments. The programs combine education with group and individual counseling, outdoor adventure activities and relationship and communication-building skills.

Bonsignori told Pippin that EYA planned to work with a variety of other agencies and organizations to help find placements for troubled youth who would have been served by the two closing camps.

UN Observance Promotes Awareness of Teen Substance Abuse

As it has done every year since 1998, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is calling for greater awareness of the scourge of drug abuse today, June 26, as it observes the annual International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. The effort is designed to focus specific attention on the continuing devastation of adolescent and ten substance abuse:

The use of illicit drugs harms individuals, families and society at large. Drugs control the body and mind of individual consumers, the drug crop and drug cartels control farmers, trafficking and crime control communities.

Teenagers and young adults are particularly vulnerable to using illicit drugs. The prevalence of drug use among young people is more than twice as high as that among the general population. At this age, peer pressure to experiment with illicit drugs can be strong and self-esteem is often low.

Also, those who take drugs tend to be either misinformed or insufficiently aware of the health risks involved. (Source: UNODC website)

“The rising use of addictive drugs has become one of the biggest social problems threatening various countries,” Dr Jitendra Nagpal wrote in a June 26 article on the UNDOC observance that appeared on the DoctorNDTV website.

“Adolescent drug use is an important social issue as its development and consequences impact directly on academic achievement, high school dropout rate, early sexual initiation, and troubled interpersonal relationships, among other consequences,” Dr. Nagpal wrote.

Binge Drinking on the Rise among South Carolina Students
Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

A survey of more than 4,000 students from South Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools returned some good news, some not-so-good news.

According to a June 23 article by Alexa Garcia-Ditta of the Charlotte Observer, the Substance Abuse Prevention Services of the Carolinas has discovered that surveyed students in grades six to 12 are smoking less, but binge drinking more:

Results showed that, compared to previous surveys, cigarette smoking, marijuana use and alcohol consumption declined overall. … But binge drinking is on the rise.

Of the 14 percent of teens who indicated they had drunk alcohol in the previous 30 days, 38 percent of those said they had five or more drinks in a short time. In 2006, 32.5 percent of teens who drank reported binge drinking.

In addition to a youth binge drinking problem, the survey also revealed troubling levels of solo drinking among young South Carolina students.

“Of the 14 percent [of surveyed students] who reported drinking in the previous 30 days, 10.5 percent drank at home and alone,” Garcia-Ditta reported. “Even more alarming, 4.7 percent of the drinkers were in middle school; 20 percent of those kids reported that they drank at home and alone.”

Gang Activity on the Rise Among Some Suburban Youth

Gang activity is often portrayed as primarily an inner-city problem. But a June 21 article by Baltimore Sun writers Nicole Fuller and Nick Madigan indicates that increasing numbers of suburban youth are joining gangs:

Experts say gang activity in suburban and more affluent communities, prevalent since the early 1990s, is expected to peak in coming years as the population of the most susceptible youths, ages 14 to 17, booms.”The suburban gang trend is on the uptick,” said Dan Korem, author of Suburban Gangs: The Affluent Rebels. …

Suburban teenagers join gangs for reasons similar to their big-city counterparts, experts say. They tend to be at-risk youth struggling with family problems, such as divorce or separation, physical abuse or dysfunctional parents. The biggest factor, according to Korem, is that children don’t have an adult to turn to for guidance.

Fuller and Madigan’s reporting supports the conclusions of several studies, which associate active and involved parenting with increased quality of life among U.S. adolescents and teens.

If you are having trouble maintaining a healthy and positive relationship with your child — and if your child is engaging in destructive, defiant, or otherwise unhealthy behaviors — you may want to consider the many benefits that can result from enrolling your child in a wilderness program for teens.

College Students Drinking More

New statistics from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) indicate that drinking among college students is rising:

The study found that alcohol-related deaths in the 18-to-24 age group increased from 1,440 in 1998 to 1,825 in 2005.
Binge drinking increased by three percent in the same period. Binge drinking means having five or more drinks in a row.
The number of students who told researchers they drink while driving also rose 3 percent.

“The fact that we’re not making progress is very concerning,” said Ralph Hingson, lead researcher and director the NIAAA’s division of epidemiology and prevention.