MOBILE, Ala./ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — According to the Drug Education Council in Mobile, adolescent drug use can increase when teens have a lot of unsupervised free time, like the summer break.
“90% of addiction begins during the teen years,” said Virginia Guy, the Executive Director of the Drug Education Council.
Now that school is out for the summer, teens have more free time on their hands.
“They’re always at risk of maybe trying things they wouldn’t normally try,” said Guy.
Drug use can turn to violence. Just last week, 18-year-old John Coker was arrested by the Escambia County, Florida, Sherrif’s Office.
Deputies say he was the mastermind for three of those shootings, but they don’t think he was the shooter. They say he got someont to retaliate against someone who allegedly ripped him off during a drug transaction.
“They’re not in school for that 6 1/2 hours, so they have a lot more time in the day to roam the streets, to get into trouble, and to do things when teens are bored,” said Tim Wills, the CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of South Alabama.
The Boys and Girls Club of South Alabama also know that the summer months can spell trouble for some teens.
They stay open 10 hours a day in the summer to make sure teens have a place to go.
“We get them jobs, so we can keep them employed and busy and it keeps them out of trouble and off the streets,” said Wills.
Experts suggest parents get to know their children, their children’s friends, and friends’ parents.
The Drug Education Council also offers anonymous free juvenile drug testing. They say that can provide a valuable prevention and intervention tool for parents and teens. The testing is offered in both Mobile and Baldwin Counties.
A parent can bring their child, or a urine sample from their child to the Drug Education Council in Mobile, or call for an appointment in Baldwin County.
The drug tests screen for several different kinds of drugs, but the Drug Education Council does not keep the names of the juveniles tested. The Drug Education Council says it is a way for parents to know if their children are using drugs.