Pubdate: Sun, 04 Jun 2006
Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2006 Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Author: Katherine Valdesuso
Bookmark: (Oxycontin/Oxycodone)
Bookmark: (Youth)


It's said that with its sophistication and charm,  Sarasota is the 
gem of Florida's Gulf Coast.

However, our city, as beautiful as it might be,  contains underlying 
issues -- some seldom addressed.

I've discovered through research that drug convictions  in Florida 
made up 48.9 percent of its total criminal  convictions in 2001. This 
is above the national average  of 41.2 percent.

Being a part of the younger generation, I'm interested  in this problem.

According to a survey, a higher percentage of middle-  and 
high-school students in Sarasota have tried the  specific drug 
OxyContin than in any other county in  Florida. The 2002 Florida 
Youth Substance Abuse Survey  reports that 5.9 percent of students in 
grades six  through 12 in Sarasota County say they have  experimented 
with the drug, compared with a 2.5 percent  state average.

There are hundreds of reasons that teens will claim  they try/use 
drugs. Many teens believe this is due to  the lack of recreational 
activities available in our  city. Drugs and alcohol have come to 
represent teens'  last resort for entertainment. Perhaps making the 
few  activities that are available more affordable to the  youth of 
our city, or developing more clubs,  organizations or hangouts, so to 
speak, would mean that  a smaller portion of our younger generation 
will be  part of that 48.9 percent.

As Whitney Houston once sang, "I believe the children  are our 
future. Teach them well and let them lead the  way."

Take this quote to heart. I know that I'm not the only  one in this 
city who feels this way. There are so many  other teens dying to 
express their opinions on matters  left unaddressed, which, 
hopefully, in time, will be  resolved.

Katherine Valdesuso

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