While it appears that abuse of alcohol and illicit drugs may be declining among students in the School District of Janesville, the head of the district's substance abuse program thinks kids may be increasing their use of the sorts legally prescribed drugs found in many homes.
Janesville schools are preparing their strategy to keep students from abusing prescription drugs over the summer. Carrie Kulinski is the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs of Abuse program coordinator in Janesville. She says there's some good news: substance abuse among students appears to be down. "That seems to be the trend statewide and nationwide," says Kulinski. "Janesville kids usually tend to follow their peers . . . actually, everything is down."
"The bad news however, is we are seeing things like narcotics, tranquilizers and amphetamines rising," Kulinski adds. "In working with teens, what I hear over and over again is that they do not perceive the prescription meds as being harmful. They're prescribed by a doctor, other people are taking them, so they must be okay. They don't really perceive harm as with some of the other illegal, illicit drugs."
"All I have is anecdotal information from the students," explains Kulinksi. "They tend to prefer the pain medications, the Oxycontinm, the Vicodin. I've also noticed a trend . . . there's a drug out there called syboxone, which people are prescribed to come off of heroin. I've noticed people talking abut that, possibly using sybxone to get high."
Kulinski is organizing a summer newsletter for students, staff and parents in the Janesville schools. She says the entire newsletter focuses on prescription drug abuse.