On average, young people in Shawnee, Jefferson, and Jackson Counties, on average our youth are using alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana for the first time by age 13. Drug use can be detrimental to every aspect of a child’s life resulting in long-lasting effects including physical, emotional and behavior problems, learning difficulties, damage to relationships, and endless other consequences.
United Way is working to educate, engage, and support youth in our community to be alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana free. We partner to provide programs for youth to develop leadership, positive decision-making, and peer pressure resistance skills as well as opportunities to engage in mentoring relationships that can help them understand that their future can be unlimited if they avoid risky behaviors now. Programs are also offered to help families set expectations for their youth and develop and enforce clear rules on prohibiting drug use.
Prevention of substance abuse among our youth means more students are positively engaged in school and able to graduate high school on time. This leads to a better future for them and a skilled workforce to attract new business for our community.