I think by now most students have started another year of school. I know my three kiddos have. It was strange to see my son leave for his senior year of high school knowing it would be his very last year. As I watched him walk out, it got me to thinking. While a new school year brings a fresh start, it also brings more temptation and peer pressure to students across the United States. Stats show us that the major things our teens will be faced with are alcohol, drugs and sex.
Consider this ... Alcohol
Approximately 40 percent of students have used alcohol at least once.
Approximately 25 percent of students in the eighth grade or below have tried alcohol, and two-thirds of those in the 11thand 12thgrade have.
A new drug report issued December 2009 by the U.S. National Institute on drug abuse indicates that fewer teens are using methamphetamine, but marijuana and prescription drug use still remains high.
The use of newer drugs, such as the hallucinogenic salvia leaf and the prescription drug Adderall, seems to be gaining in popularity. More than 5 percent of 10thand 12thgraders who did not have ADHD admitted using Adderall to get high in the past year.
Almost 1 in 10 high school seniors admit they used the narcotic painkiller Vicodin, and 1 in 20 said they used OxyContin as least once in the last year. Nineteen percent of teens said they got the prescription drugs from their doctor, 8 percent from dealers, and 66 percent from friends or relatives. Sadly, 12 percent said they "took" them, 21 percent bought them and 33 percent said someone gave them the drugs.
In 2009, 46 percent of high school students had, had sexual intercourse.
14 percent of high school students had had four or more sex partners during their life.
It amazed me to see that the bar keeps lowering and lowering and our kids are getting exposed to alcohol, sex and drugs at much younger ages. The phrase "show me your friends: I'll show you your future" rings so true in high schools today. I encourage you as a student to find a group of core friends that are seeking God and His best for their lives. When you surround yourself with godly friends you find that you are able to have fun but stay clear of the temptations that can lead you down a path of destruction. And, parents, talk to your kids about the dangers of these pressures and discuss the importance of making wise choices!
As a student, I know it is often hard to hear adults tell you this because you may think they are just saying these things to ruin your fun but what may start out as fun will only last for a season. I tell you this because I really know. I lived it through alcohol. It caused me a lot more pain in my life than it did happiness. Staying away from the things of the world and standing up to peer pressure is never easy but it is possible. In I Corinthians 10:13, God tells us that He is faithful and He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. My prayer for you this year is that you will truly seek God. Maybe you have already found yourself tangled in alcohol, drugs and/or sex. Get help and make a commitment to follow God this year. I would love to hear from you. I know what it is like. I would love to encourage you and help you find a way out from what, so easily, takes our eyes off of God.
I love you guys so much! Jay
National Health Statistics Reports. Number 15, May 20, 2009. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta.
U.S. National Institute on drug abuse, December 14, 2009.
CDC. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance-United States, 2009.