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New Hampshire: N.H. among top in teenage drug and alcohol use (Excerpt)

New Hampshire: N.H. among top in teenage drug and alcohol use (Excerpt)


Source: Eagle Tribune

August 2, 2015


Seven percent of the state’s teenagers abuse drugs, alcohol or both, landing New Hampshire among the seven states with the largest problem, according to a newly released national study.


The state otherwise ranked well in the The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s annual Kids Count Data Report, and was even listed as the second-best state for overall well-being of children, behind Minnesota. That ranking represents a move up from 2014, when New Hampshire was listed as the fourth-best state for children.


However, the drug and alcohol abuse data is troubling, officials say.


“Our substance abuse crisis is the most pressing public health and safety challenge facing our state, especially for our young people,” said Gov. Maggie Hassan.


She said the report underscores the need to boost education, awareness and prevention efforts.


The Kids Count report defines the numbers provided on teen drug abuse as the percentage of youth aged 12 to 17 who report a dependence on or use of alcohol and illicit drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants and prescription drugs.


While conversations on the current drug crisis have centered around opiates, Greater Derry Public Health drug prevention coordinator Pam Santa Fe said the most commonly abused substances among teens are alcohol and marijuana.


“Alcohol is number one. Marijuana is another that is gaining popularity, and more than likely it’s from all the media hype about it,” Santa Fe said. “Everyone thinks it’s going to be legalized. Some parents think it’s harmless.”


That’s short-sighted thinking, she said.