Study: Large Number of Students Abuse Drugs

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Knoxville (WVLT) - Shocking new concerns about drug abuse in Knox County, according to the Metropolitan Drug Commission, alcohol remains the most commonly used substance by high school students.

Statistics show over one in three teens have smoked marijuana and almost 1 in 20 have tried meth.

Volunteer TV's Allison Hunt shows us the numbers and how your children could be affected.

"It's scary to see that students think that drugs are even something worthwhile," says Marty Iroff, from Knox County Schools.

The numbers could reflect what's going on right in your own backyard.

According to new statistics from the Metropolitan Drug Commission, drug abuse in Knox County is a growing problem.

"It's important to highlight substance abuse issues before they become larger scale problems," says Epidemiologist Stephanie Armbrister.

Although alcohol remains the most commonly abused substance, statistics show out of 53,000 high school students in Knox County, the most commonly used drugs are cigarettes, marijuana, inhalants and cocaine.

37% use marijuana and just over 6% use meth.

Shocking numbers for Pastor Todd Stewart. "It's almost overwhelmingly fearful to think of the potential bad things that can happen."

Pastor Todd deals with this problem on a regular basis in his church and hopes the new numbers will put an intense focus on prevention. "I want to engage people in their situation what's going on inside of them, what's going on inside their heart before they have to turn to something to medicate their wounds and pains."

Knox County Schools work with students through education, mental health services and alternatives.

"Telling children how to have fun in their life without turning to substances," Iroff says.

And how about this statistic, in Knox County, 35% of students have never had a conversation with their parents about drugs or alcohol.

"It's incredibly important for parents to have conversations with their children and not just have conversations with their children about drugs and alcohol but stress that they disapprove of their child using drugs or alcohol," Armbrister

And research shows if you talk to your kids, they're less likely to use.

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