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Maria Shilaos, KSL Newsradio A growing number of Utah school kids are experimenting with drugs by the time they reach junior high school. Parents need to pay closer attention to what their teenagers are learning in their school hallways.
Jamie, 16-year-old: "In my school, now you could walk from one classroom to the next classroom and be asked if I want coke or ecstasy or anything."
Jamie is a 16-year-old sophomore. She and a friend began experimenting with drugs in the eighth grade.
Jamie, 16-year-old: "At first, I think it was just me having fun."
Holly Tanski, Substance Abuse Counselor: "Parents often say to me 'What did we do wrong? Did my son or did my daughter start to use because they're unhappy at home?' and it's very seldom the case. It's more that they think that it's fun and they don't realize how insidious this stuff is."
Holly Tanski is a licensed substance abuse counselor at the Adolescent Dayspring Program, which is a division of Primary Children's Medical Center. She says drugs are just too easy to get.
Holly Tanski, Substance Abuse Counselor: "And I think that there's real normalcy that they perceive in their social situations where it's a normal thing in their schools and in their peer groups to at least experiment with drugs, and more and more it's impossible to find a school that isn't struggling with the problem."
Jamie, 16-year-old: "Ninety percent of the time it's the kids that you don't think would. Like the kids that you see as good kids and preppy and straight-A students. Those are the kids that are getting into the harder drugs right now. I mean I have a lot of friends last year that they went straight into coke and ecstasy and they were straight-A students, attended church every weekend and everything, and now they just don't care, they're never at school, they're skinny, skinny. It's sickening how skinny they are."
Holly Tanski, Substance Abuse Counselor: "Most of the kids that I see come from upper-middle-class families. Usually fairly religious families, parents that have taught good value systems to their kids. I think that this runs the whole gamut."
Tomorrow in part three of our series, we'll take a look at why it's tough for kids to kick a drug habit.
Make sure to join us next Tuesday and Wednesday for the KSL Radiothon benefiting children at Primary Children's Medical Center.