More than 80 percent of adults who use methamphetamine started as teenagers, and they began their drug-using career with underage drinking.
About half of meth addicts who enter into treatment were under 15 years of age when they used for the first time. Often their first exposure was in middle school. Most kids who try meth get it from friends, and they get it for free.
Drug prevention is a critical part of creating healthy communities—and the strongest form of drug prevention is to build something called “resilience” in our young people. Resilient youth:
- are bonded to family, to school and to community
- have a strong sense of purpose and future
- are empathetic and caring toward others
- have good problem-solving skills
- can adapt to changing circumstances
We help youth develop resilience by building protective factors into their environment. Protective factors include:
- Caring and support from adults within and outside the family
- High expectations within the family and within the schools
- Opportunities for meaningful participation in family, school, and community
The Meth Task Force recently established a Mentoring Collaborative composed of organizations in Kern County that provide mentors to school-age youth. The Mentoring Collaborative is focused on recruiting and training mentors, providing support to mentors, and creating opportunities for mentees to participate in Meth Task Force activities.
Members of the Task Force are also working with schools to develop early intervention programs for young people who may be at risk for drug use.
For additional information or to become involved in the Subcommittee for Youth Prevention and Treatment, contact:
Cecilia Martinez, Kern County Mental Health, email@example.com; 661-868-8712