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Report: Greene County Children Abusing "Medicine Cabinet" Drugs

A new study in Greene County shows that local children and teenagers are turning away from marijuana, but are instead becoming more likely to abuse prescription drugs and alcohol. KSMU’s Kristian Kriner reports.

Ozarks Fighting Back, a program created by the Community Partnership of the Ozarks, has released the first Community Report Card on Substance Abuse in Greene County.

The report card shows the statistics of drug and alcohol use in 2008 from teenagers to adults.

Melissa Haddow is the executive director for the Community Partnership.

Haddow says the new report indicates that drinking is becoming more of a problem for high school students than college students.

“I think the fact that we’ve seen a drop in binge drinking on the college campuses is very significant. However, it’s very alarming to me that we have one out of 10 girls on college campuses who state that they have been sexually abused in some fashion while under the influence of alcohol. I think that’s a wake up call. We need to do some education,” Haddow said.

She says the report card shows that one in 20 kids aged eight or younger had taken more than a sip or two of beer, wine or hard liquor in the past year.

Haddow says high school students are increasingly abusing drugs they find around the home- like prescription medication.

“Nationally they say that one out of every five teens is abusing prescription drugs and one out of every 10 is drinking cough syrup. But, when we talk to high schoolers here in our community and I say one out of five, they laugh and they say ‘oh no it’s much greater than that,’” Haddow said.

She says the kids reported getting the prescription drugs from their parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinets.

For KSMU News, I’m Kristian Kriner.